By Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood January 1, 2013 at 6:19AM
Capturing the expanse of a film on a flimsy two-foot-by-three-foot piece of paper is a challenge; trying to woo audiences to see a movie, given only this paper, is a feat. Each year, the movie poster medium boasts some incredible looking efforts - some that even veer towards art. The best posters of 2012 don't have much in common - and neither do the movies they represent - but they caught our eye and sometimes left a more indelible print than the movie that inspired them.
Among the best is "Killing Them Softly," which featured a design geek's dream layout: simple, well-positioned and sharp. "Django Unchained" is iconic, Tarantino, piqued our interest well before more details leaked. "The Dark Knight Rises" poster that revealed urban remnants reflecting a bat wing is a little heavy-handed, but fittingly so. The minimalism of the blacked-out "Zero Dark Thirty" also leaves a similarly striking reverb.
Sometimes, the poster outshone the film. Oliver Stone's "Savages," promised fast, sexy, colorful. "John Carter" hinted at a mystical world, unfolding in the face of an undaunted explorer; the poster was dreamier.
If any vibe reigned supreme, it might have been retro. "Moonrise Kingdom" is dream-pastel soft - the picture of childhood imagination that it captured. "The Paperboy" also goes for an over-exposed look. Art-house "American Animal" employed a hot-pink that seems to have been produced in 1986. The faded imagery in the Rorschach-test-poster for "The Master" gave it a simultaneously traditional and uneasy feeling.
For the 2013 roster of films, "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III," "The Lone Ranger," and "The Wolverine" have already made headway into great film art. The poster for Chan-wook Park's "Stoker" was so great, we grouped it along with the 2012 set to give a preview of what's next.