Category Archives: Hit & Miss

Hit & Miss: Movie Posters

Movie advertising. It’s often the first exposure a person has to an upcoming release, so it’s crucial that a film’s trailer and poster are both enticing and representative of the film, expressing the same look, feel, and tone that a person will experience while watching the movie. At best, a successful movie advertising campaign will put butts in seats. At worst, well … it won’t. It’s a sad day when no one watches a great movie because of bad advertising. I’m pretty sure a puppy gets cancer each time this happens.

Think back at some of the iconic movie posters that have become so ingrained in pop culture that they’ve become art, themselves. E.T. Schindler’s List. American BeautyRaging Bull. The Silence of the Lambs. All with great movie posters. To date, the tradition of great advertising continues for some films. For others, not so much.

Take a look at these two hits and two misses and share your thoughts in the Comments section.


It seems fitting (like a bed sheet—see what I did there?) that a movie about a sex addict would have a poster that simply and graphically depicts the place where all the magic happens. There’s a clear story here. The sheets are disheveled and wrinkled. Someone was just in bed. Who? The simple, yet powerful title, Shame, rests comfortably atop the mess that was left behind. What shameful act happened here? On December 2nd, we’ll find out.

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Hit & Miss: Another Earth, The Devil’s Double

I’m usually a pretty good judge of movies before even watching them. I can often tell whether I think a movie is going to be good or bad based on the trailer, logline, filmmaker, cast, or any other factor. Of course, this is not unique to me. Many of us have this super power. But every now and then, my senses go awry and I find myself in disbelief. Here are a couple of recent examples:




Going In: I’m not much for sci-fi, and after having seen the trailer, I just had a feeling—this is not going to be a good movie. And that’s a shame, because Fox Searchlight is my favorite distributor—but hey, even Fox Searchlight is entitled to a not-so-great movie once in a while. (Has anyone seen The Tree of Life?) Another Earth looked sleepy, boring, quiet, and any other number of synonyms that describe bland.

Stepping Out: BEST. MOVIE. OF. THE. YEAR. (so far) I can’t believe how wrong I was with this one. Brit Marling. Remember that name. She wrote, produced, and stars in this micro-budget indie that was directed by Mike Cahill. Nearly everything about this film is perfect. The dynamic performances. The breathtaking cinematography. The mesmerizing music. And most especially, the complex characters in a simple, original story. It just goes to show you, a film’s budget is no barometer for how good a movie is. The writing is (among other things). You can go into space with a tight script. And this film is proof.




Going In: The true story of the man who was forced to act as Uday Hussein’s double. (That’s Saddam’s son, folks.) I was easily intrigued, quite simply because I hadn’t seen anything like this before. And speaking of something I haven’t seen before, (based on the trailer) it looked like Dominic Cooper was turning in a performance unlike any other he’s done. I’m sold.

Stepping Out: WTF! Sure, there is gory violence, but this film isn’t nearly as gritty as I thought it would be. Sure, Cooper’s performance is solid, but that’s pretty much all this Lee Tamahori-helmed film has going for it. It’s glitzy, golden visuals are clearly implied in the trailer and poster, but I was mostly going into this film with the overall concept in mind. Clearly, I wasn’t paying close enough attention. This film resembled more of a flashy music video than any film worth my time. (I was actually expecting something on par with The Hurt Locker, in style and substance.) Mind you, I didn’t hate it—and “not hating it” is the best compliment I can offer.