House Logo
Explore categories +

Elizabeth Olsen (#110 of 6)

Poster Lab: The Worst Movie Posters of 2012

Comments Comments (...)

Poster Lab: The Worst Movie Posters of 2012
Poster Lab: The Worst Movie Posters of 2012

Dishonorable Mention

The Sessions: The flagship poster for The Sessions is just your latest example of a marketing brainfart: How does one sell a dramedy about a polio survivor looking to lose his virginity? The answer, sadly, is the old, square, film-still-collage standby, whose slanted positioning doesn’t make it any less banal. The ad may be preferable to its illustrated counterpart, which walks a dangerous line between the inspired and the vulgar, but it still fails to do the movie justice, its design appearing unfinished and its lone pullquote a cheap ploy for Oscar love. [Poster]

Save the Date: Never mind the whole bottom-heavy layout here, which opts to crush a pair of stills with a needless mountain of whitespace. The real problem is what’s conveyed in the stills themselves: an aesthetic defined by boring over-the-shoulder shots. Is it a metaphor for the male characters’ lack of emotional presence? Is it underscoring the prominence of the females of the film? Not really—it’s just bad design. And rather than providing quirky adornment as intended, the pencil-drawn faces merely appear tacked-on, somehow making this minimalistic-in-all-the-wrong-ways fiasco look busy.[Poster]

The Giant Mechanical Man: A wonderful gem that never quite found an audience, The Giant Mechanical Man deserved much better than this tossed-together one-sheet, which basically slaps a still on a blue background and scrawls in some text. None of the film’s infectious, magical-realist nature is expressed, only the fact that Jenna Fischer and Chris Messina go for coffee. The lone cloud and subtle heart might suggest that love is in the air for these drifters, but none of it succeeds in piquing interest. [Poster]

Poster Lab: Darling Companion

Comments Comments (...)

Poster Lab: <em>Darling Companion</em>
Poster Lab: <em>Darling Companion</em>

In general, this column isn’t designed to verbally tear bad posters in half, but when something as shoddy as the one-sheet for Darling Companion is put on the market, it’s pretty hard not to chime in. Almost shockingly unpolished, this blandly conceived fiasco reads like the rushed efforts of a first-day intern, who was tasked to cook up something to be shuffled out the door, and in an over-caffeinated panic, made a sinful hybrid of Lassie, The Devil Wears Prada and Martha Marcy May Marlene. Hell, maybe that leg even belongs to the intern’s boss, whose blurry blob of a platform heel recalls those digi-bras used in VH1’s “Movies That Rock” broadcast of Showgirls (come on, y’all know which ones I’m talking about).

It’s a good thing the intern remembered to include the collie, because this design otherwise reflects next to nothing that’s conveyed in the movie’s trailer, which promises over-50 ensemble kookiness, not working-woman minimalism. Maybe if that foot were wearing a saddle shoe and slacks, we might at least believe it belongs to lead star Diane Keaton. As is, it implies a tony glamazon who leaves Fido with a sitter. If there’s any half-decent design sense to speak of, it’s that the woman’s leg provides line quality and hugs the dog’s left side, thus offering a literal visual of the titular theme of pet-owner closeness. In all likelihood, though, it was probably just that poor intern’s way of scaling down the clipping-path duties, which, given the number that was done on the paw, was probably a blessing.

Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Actress

Comments Comments (...)

Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Actress
Oscar 2012 Nomination Predictions: Actress

If you want a good cross-section of Oscar habits, look no further than this year’s top five candidates for Best Actress. In Michelle Williams, you have the eternally baity case of star playing star, and this time the star being played just might be history’s brightest. In Tilda Swinton, you have a classic case of Academy catch-up, wherein voters nominate a brilliant talent for minor work as a means to remedy past snubs. Category fraud is exemplified by Viola Davis, whose push as a leading star is, admittedly, a falsity of the filmmakers and not of any voting body, but who should nevertheless be considered as supporting. In Glenn Close, there’s you’re wholly undeserving knee-jerk nominee, armed with a shameless checklist of Oscar-y draws like gender-bending, homosexuality, uglification, makeup effects, period details, decades-long commitment, and “past-due” desperation. And as for Meryl Streep, well, she’s an Oscar habit in and of herself, isn’t she?

New York Film Festival 2011: Martha Marcy May Marlene and Goodbye First Love

Comments Comments (...)

New York Film Festival 2011: <em>Martha Marcy May Marlene</em> and <em>Goodbye First Love</em>
New York Film Festival 2011: <em>Martha Marcy May Marlene</em> and <em>Goodbye First Love</em>

Is it possible for a cinematographer to be considered an auteur even more than the directors for which he works? On the basis of his work on films as disparate in subject matter, style and tone as Afterschool, Tiny Furniture, and now Martha Marcy May Marlene, one could make such a case for Jody Lee Lipes, the phenomenally talented 29-year-old cinematographer who shot all three of them.

The stylistic tics are remarkably similar in all of those films: prolonged takes, carefully worked out mise-en-scène, a penchant for wide shots within a 2.35:1 frame. Obviously, each director uses these signatures for their own purposes, psychological dread in the case of Afterschool and Martha Marcy May Marlene, wistful deadpan comedy in Tiny Furniture, but the style is so consistent that, in some ways, all three films can be considered just as much Lipes’s as they can their directors’. At the very least, one can’t help but wonder what subsequent films by Antonio Campos, Lena Dunham, and Sean Durkin, respectively, will look like if they choose not to work with Lipes.

Cannes Film Festival 2011: The Artist, Martha Marcy May Marlene, & House of Tolerance

Comments Comments (...)

Cannes Film Festival 2011: <em>The Artist</em>, <em>Martha Marcy May Marlene</em>, & <em>House of Tolerance</em>
Cannes Film Festival 2011: <em>The Artist</em>, <em>Martha Marcy May Marlene</em>, & <em>House of Tolerance</em>

Hollywood is a windfall business. Stars are easily born, but once the the cracks in their public image start to show, careers can evaporate in 24 frames per second. This scenario describes many of the silent-era stars stripped of their powerful stature by the invention of talkies in the late 1920s. The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius’s beguiling new silent film about these iconic personalities dumbfounded by the sound revolution, tap dances through the end of an era with effortless panache. Striking black-and-white cinematography and brilliant flourishes of sound amid an otherwise silent landscape give The Artist its stylistic identity, but this story of evolution and adaptation is all about the power of on-screen chemistry.

George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a titanic personality, hamming it up in adventure films and real life with equal measure. Despite his endless charisma, George’s eyes reveal hints of loneliness, further confirmed during a Citizen Kane-esque montage of cold-shouldered breakfasts with his wife (Penelope Ann Miller). Always accompanied by a tenacious Boston terrier, his co-star in all situations, George bumps into an aspiring young actress named Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) while leaving a packed theater premiere. Their initial meeting spins into a feature-length flirtation of knowing glances, charming asides, and fateful disappointments, a dual character arc that aligns with the technological changes taking place in cinema. Classic Hollywood music becomes a crucial confidant for the characters, magnifying Dujardin’s welling eyes and Bejo’s lovely smile during key close-ups.