Sunday, November 29, 2015

Alternative Movie Posters II, by Matthew Chojnacki

There is a sub genre of art that many of us see on a regular basis, but might not notice: movie poster art.  I personally never thought of it as a separate genre, but here it is, in Alternative Movie Posters II, Matthew Chojnacki's sequel to Alternative Movie Posters.  Chojnacki has collected, as you might expect, alternative movie posters, and presents them here, along with a bit of commentary from the artists.  The occasions for the posters vary: DVD releases, film festivals, anniversary releases of the movies, or just the artist's whim.  All of them share a love of the movie depicted.

They also share a sort of retro feel.  This wasn't true of every poster, but the overall sense of the book is retro, perhaps reflecting the artists' nostalgia for the films.  Not that all films featured are old.  They range from old to new, mainstream to obscure, American and international, kids' movies to rated R.  Many, like the two posters for A Christmas Story, are very busy, including characters and scenes from the whole movie.  Others, like the descending letters of "gravity" on the poster for Gravity give only the barest hint of the movie.  There are even some that do not name the movie at all, merely showing a character or the hint of a scene.

One thing to keep in mind is that these posters are all (as best as I can tell) after the fact, not intended to promote a movie.  These are tributes to the movies, more than anything.  The images serve as reminders to those who have seen them.  The headless horse on the The Godfather poster, the nesting-doll-like Bill Murray heads on the Groundhog Day poster, the shredded paper on the Argo poster all give hints about the movies, but reveal little about the actual content of the movie.

Some of the posters do fit a more traditional movie poster mold, with the name of the movie, key actors, and perhaps even a catch phrase.  These are the ones that feel the most retro.  In these cases, the art is so good that one wonders why this, or something like it, isn't used for the actual, original poster.  The artists included in Alternative Movie Posters II should have their phones ringing off the wall with calls from studios wanting their art.

Movie lovers will love these clever, cool, funny, inventive, and sometimes lovely posters, and will wonder why these are "alternative" and not the real thing.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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