Mike’s Favorite Movie Posters of 2014 (50-31)

The movie poster is a lost art.

That is always the first thing I say when I start talking about my favorite posters of the year. I started this feature back in 2011, when I saw the poster for The Ides of March and thought, “That’s one of the most original poster designs I’ve ever seen.” And it made me realize just how lazy advertising departments are now, regurgitating the same twelve poster designs, trying to remind you of all the other movies like that one that you saw, rather than doing something that sticks out and is unique, and makes you want to see the movie purely on its poster design. How often now do you see a poster and go, “Man, what is that movie?”

At this point so many different variations of a poster get released (teaser posters, first poster, second poster, character posters, DVD cover art), it’s hard to even keep track of them. So rarely are we left with a singular image from a film. It’s because the marketing team only cares about trying to make money for a film and not about truly selling the film. You’ll see more and more that what end up being the best posters of the year are films with a deliberate voice behind them, which either means that the director is very hands on and cares about their product, all the way down to the marketing, or because the voice of the filmmaker is so strong, it bleeds over into the marketing.

The point is — even though the art of movie poster making is a dying one, I’m still going to celebrating the good that is left. I look for posters that are simple, memorable, and tell you exactly what a movie is about in a single image. Or, sometimes things are just cool. It’ll be pretty obvious as we go.

So here are my favorite posters of 2014:

Last year, I talked about the movies that almost made the cut, and things like that. But this year, we’re only going to do one honorable mention, and then get on with the list. We’re keeping the same 50 poster format that we started last year, with the first twenty today, the second twenty tomorrow, and the top ten after that.

And, to remind you all — I’m only including posters for films that came out in 2013. As usual there will be one exception, but the idea is to celebrate the posters of 2014 films, not the posters that came out in 2014. And at this point, everything on the list is decidedly a 2014 film. There’s only one that will be coming out in 2015 proper, but since it played a bunch of festivals in 2014, I feel like I can count it for this year. Oh, and one poster per film. If I like another poster from a particular movie, I’ll link to it underneath. I’m not gonna cheat and put three posters from the same movie on the list.

Now I think we’re good to go.

My one honorable mention for 2014, and the unofficial #51 on my list, goes to: Neighbors. Because sometimes a baby sitting on a beer keg is just that funny. (I will point out, I almost went with this alternate poster for Expendables 3 as the honorable mention, but I realized it was them taking all the character posters, collaging them and then tie-dying the whole thing. Which is more of a cheat than anything, even though the neon look is pretty cool. So I’ll mention that now on the off chance that maybe next year, someone will color their poster like those and I can include it on my list for real.)

Anyway, here’s the official list of my favorite posters of 2014:

The Equalizer Movie Poster

50. The Equalizer

Simple poster. I like the negative coloring/silhouette aspect. Not really sure what the point of this is, but it looks nice. That’s generally all something like this needs to make it on the end of the list.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 IMAX Movie Poster

49. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

It’s those IMAX posters. The rest of the posters for this movie are garbage, but this IMAX one is nice. Just because it’s a nice drawing. Has nothing to do with the movie, but it looks nice. You’ll see a few IMAX posters on this list.

The Book of Life Movie Poster

48. The Book of Life

Lot of color and lights. Very Pixar. That’s it, really. Color and lights. Looks nice. Throw a lot of that on a poster and I’ll probably like it.

Pompeii Movie Poster

47. Pompeii

All right, I’m an idiot. I’m aware of this. I’m a sucker for these kinds of posters. You’ve seen this layout before. But it’s people kissing in front of an exploding volcano. I like that. Don’t overthink it. The first few entries are the ones that I’m aware are only there for personal reasons.

Coherence Movie Poster

46. Coherence

Because it makes no sense. And for a movie called Coherence, to have something that seems incoherent is pretty much all you can do. I almost went with this version of the poster, just because it has a sock monkey, but the one with the paddle makes less sense. Though I will say, this stuff does (if I remember correctly) actually have something to do with what’s in the movie. So there’s that.

Sin City A Dame to Kill For Movie Poster

45. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Noir lighting and boobs. Do I need more reasons?

Non-Stop Movie Poster

44. Non-Stop

Liam Neeson, sideways, firing in a plane that’s going down. That’s badass. And simple. Sometimes simple is the best way to go.

The Pyramid Movie Poster

43. The Pyramid

There are two of these kinds of posters on this list. I’m gonna explain this one as — I like Egyptian imagery. I like the dark and the sand. That’s pretty much it.

The Imitation Game Movie Poster

42. The Imitation Game

Big complicated machine. Looks cool. That’s it.

The Purge Anarchy Movie Poster

41. The Purge: Anarchy

Love the imagery they’re getting out of this movie. Might get tired of it by next year, but we’ll see what they can keep coming up with. Red White and Guns. Not totally unique, but I still like it enough to put it on the list, so there’s that.

Foxcatcher Movie Poster

40. Foxcatcher

Not sure exactly the significance of it thematically (since I’m going into the movie cold), but it looks nice. I can’t say more about it without really knowing the movie, but it looks nice. So there we are.

Transcendence Movie Poster

39. Transcendence

I don’t know… I like the idea of him fading into… whatever that is. Pixels. It’s simple. That’s the movie.

American Sniper Movie Poster

38. American Sniper

Not sure why I like this, but I do. Maybe it’s the use of the color against the washed out background. Simple. Person against a stark background. I like those.

Vampire Academy Movie Poster

37. Vampire Academy

Hey look, neon colors. No one does that. This stands out.

(School Logo Alternate)

A Million Ways to Die in the West Movie Poster

36. A Million Ways to Die in the West

It’s a cactus giving the finger. Is that not the greatest thing in the world?

300 Rise of an Empire Movie Poster

35. 300: Rise of an Empire

Really like the tidal wave of blood. It’s a great image. I remembered this better than I remembered most posters this year. It looks nice.

Unbroken Movie Poster

34. Unbroken

Really solid poster. Saw this one at the last minute. Really well done. Not crazy about the blood looking like tears, but it’s still nice.

The Dog Movie Poster

33. The Dog

love this poster. This looks straight out of a 40s movie. Simple, and perfect. Such a glorious poster.

Captain American The Winter Soldier Movie Poster

32. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

IMAX poster number two. Looks great. Gives it a fun, pulp mystery kind of feel. That’s what the movie is. This is just a cool looking poster. IMAX knows what they’re doing. Especially since superhero movies are the biggest perpetrators of using the same layouts over and over.

As Above So Below Movie Poster

31. As Above, So Below

I think it’s the all red that makes this for me. The upside down is nice, too. And the skulls. It’s actually a nice poster design. Same concept as The Pyramid, so not total points on originality. But it looks cool. So it gets points on that.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow we will continue with more of my favorite posters of 2014.


One response

  1. Just in case… if you were planning on including the HTTYD2 poster, don’t do it- It’s the EXACT SAME DESIGN as the fourth Harry Potter poster. Just pointing that out because nobody seems to have noticed and I don’t want you making the mistake of calling the poster original.

    December 6, 2014 at 2:50 pm

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