Movie Article

Most Wanted (and Unwanted) Posters

We grade the posters for ''Precious,'' ''Up In the Air,'' ''Ninja Assassin,'' and more

PRECIOUS
While it may not spell out the inner-city drama's harrowing story, this is one of the most striking one-sheets in ages. The bold brushstrokes imply that the woman behind them is still a work in progress, easily overlooked. Then you lean in to see the charm on her necklace, and it's the title. Stunning. A

NINJA ASSASSIN
Savage, sleek, and sexy, this poster knows exactly who its target audience is, and exactly what they want. Plus, the tagline — ''Fear not the weapon but the hand that wields it'' — sounds like it was written by Yoda. Now if only the film's star, Korean pop sensation Rain, could get his entire face on the bloody thing. B+

DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Nothing says Charles Dickens like a motion -- capture Jim Carrey in a tattered nightshirt, rocketing over 19th-century London, straddling a — well, we're not quite sure what that thing is, but it looks more Harry Potter than Dickens. That may be the idea. At least Big Ben appears to be historically accurate. C+

THE BOX
Rather than sell this sci-fi film's intriguing concept — push the box's button and you get a million bucks, but kill off someone you don't know — we get half of Cameron Diaz's befuddled face covered in a fuzzy red stripe. It's so generic, it could have been the poster to some late-1980s erotic thriller. C-

UP IN THE AIR
When your film stars George Clooney, it's risky not to put his face front and center. But this poster suggests his mug isn't necessary; from the clean type to the clever tagline (''The story of a man ready to make a connection''), it deftly conveys the film's tone, yet leaves you wanting more. A-

Originally posted Nov 03, 2009 Published in issue #1074 Nov 06, 2009 Order article reprints