Home > awards, lists, poster art > The Best of 2008, 3: Film and Film Posters

The Best of 2008, 3: Film and Film Posters

December 31st, 2008 | Jonathan Gray

Somehow I went a full year without seeing many films, so the competition wasn’t all that steep, though I’m still relatively happy with most of my top picks. Remember that they count if I saw them in 2008, hence some of the 2007 entries.


10. Enchanted. Silly but fun, and ideal for the second 9 hour leg of a trip to Malawi.

9. Sweeney Todd. I like Tim Burton’s aesthetic. Odd, dark, kinda cool.

8. The Bourne Ultimatum. If only I could move and fight like Bourne, my subway commute would be so much less of a hassle.

7. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Admittedly, in other years, the movie that gifted the phrase “nuking the fridge” to movie criticism wouldn’t make the list, but it was fun, and it was great to see Harrison back in action. I spent a lot of playtime trying to be him as a kid, so he has a long leash.

6. Quantum of Solace. Not quite Casino Royale, but I’m intrigued by the decision to serialize the Bond films, and Daniel Craig is still easily the best Bond.

5. There Will Be Blood. By the time Daniel Day Lewis was drinking from the other dude’s milkshake, I was a little tired, since I also saw this on the way to Malawi, but it was gripping stuff. I wish I could’ve seen it on the big screen.

4. Cloverfield. A great ride. My sense is that New Yorkers liked this film more than others. I loved it. Wouldn’t want to own it or see it without a full theatre, but I really liked it.

3. No Country for Old Men. I have a real weak spot for totally dark, badass villains, so this movie hit all the right chords with me. And I love the Coen Bros. stuff.

2. Iron Man. Like Batman Begins, Iron Man has a brilliant first two acts, then falls quite flat. But its first two acts were really fun.

1. The Dark Knight. I know I’m not supposed to like it, because hype is bad, right? Well, much of Dark Knight‘s hype was really bad (a Gotham pepperoni pizza from Domino’s? Come on!). I think much of its marketing sucked. To the point that I was ready to dislike the film, and especially Heath Ledger’s performance. Instead, I really liked it. The IMAX screen helped, no doubt. But it was great fun. Let the haters hate, but I won’t. I’m even one of the only people I know who actually likes Christian Bale’s Batman voice.

Now for movie posters after the fold. Yes, I get to the extratextuals eventually …

Movie Posters

10. Iron Man. The challenge for teasers seems to be to pick a good icon. This one does it for fans, but offers a visually evocative image for non-fans.

9. Punisher. Same as above.

8. Beautiful Losers. I’ve seen other posters like this, but it’s fun and snappy looking, warm and inviting.

7. The Eye. A simple concept done very well. As with some of the other horror posters (which are often the best movie posters, since they need to create the actual genre, making you scared, whereas many other posters just sell anticipation, a generic image [ie: tough guy with gun], and a few star names or images), it creeped me out every time I saw it.

6. Blindness. Most posters are dark or colorfully bright. It’s rare to go white. The sight chart and the figure behind frosted glass are nice conceits too.

5. Cloverfield. Quite clearly announcing itself as a creature-feature monster film, it does its job really well, as did almost everything that hyped this film. No film received such brilliant marketing since The Blair Witch Project, arguably.

4. The Happening (German version). A really cool image, and it captures the sense of seeing things from a different angle that M. Night’s films promise to give (even if they don’t deliver).

3. Man on Wire. Being scared of heights, perhaps I’m an easy mark, but both of these posters are totally arresting, both enticing one to see the film to get the full story of why someone would do such a stupid thing.

2. Forgetting Sarah Marshall. A wonderful teaser poster that has one begging for more information while bemused, and while completely understanding the situation in which the film’s lead character finds himself.

1. Saw V. I have no plan to see this film. But every time I saw (ahem) or see the poster, I’m entranced. It’s not just the human mask conceit, but the completely blank look on his face: shouldn’t someone wearing such a mask be smiling, laughing, or cackling? It makes the picture all the more eerie. Is he dead? Plotting? Mourning? It’s an excellent poster.

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  1. June 30th, 2010 at 13:05 | #1

    My absolute favourite movie in this list is Indiana Jones. I know, there are Batman, Cloverfield or No Country for Old Man, which are admitedly outstanding movies, but for me as a fanboy who grew up with Indy there can be nothing else.
    As for the posters, agree SAW V’s is really the most exciting. The movie promises uncut action and I can not really describe, but this actor playing Jigsaw was not chosen without a reason…

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