That’s…uh…(gulp)…more like it…

Midnight Meat Train revisited

Now, that’s how The Midnight Meat Train should have done it the first time. Count on the best movie poster site on the web, bar none—the Internet Movie Poster Awards (IMPA)—to bring the noise.

This post that you’re reading started its life as a mere addendum to the one above it, but it’s going to live out the rest of its days giving blogroll-worthy props to IMPA, the best place on the net to see today’s motion picture print advertising.

Great DebatersWhat’s cool about IMPA is that they run huge jpegs of, what seems like, everything; they maintain a deep archive of past pieces, even going back to a couple of 1913 posters; and they get stuff early. Often enough, I find out about upcoming movies on IMPA. Like, I’d have figured on an Ice Age 3—I wasn’t surprised there’d be one—but IMPA let me know for sure with the advance for the July 2009 release. On the other hand, I’d not even peeped The City of Violence, but IMPA has this absolutely crackling poster. Ditto for 2006’s Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, here seen in a glorious Italian version.

The Dark KnightAs you might have ventured, reading this far into the post, I love movie art and acquiring it. As a collector, I’m the kind who goes for the illest images, and not even necessarily for posters of movies I dig. For example, I loved The Matrix like nothing else in life. To me, it’s probably what Scarface is to…I dunno, Scarface.

Don’t have this poster, however, don’t really want it (though I still need the Monica Bellucci joints for Reloaded). Conversely, unless the advance word is outrageous, I probably won’t go see the upcoming adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s The Informers, but this poster is bought.

Black SundayIMPA is where you go to see, not only Will Smith’s I Am Legend one-sheets, but the quads they aimed at select markets, showing representative capital cities—Sydney, London, Tokyo, Paris—in post-viral desecration mode. It’s where you learn that, whatever you thought of the recent Jumper, the Japanese poster rocked.

At IMPA, one can also often parse industry market-think from the art and the way it’s presented. So, in one case, what’s apparent is that Paramount felt they had to make final U.S. posters for Iron Man, here and here, which clearly profiled the lead actors, because the Iron Man character has no recognition here (unlike, say, Batman, Superman, or Spiderman, for whom, as shown, you’d need only show their respective logos). However, in Germany, where Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges, and Gwyneth Paltrow presumably don’t open a lot of movies, the company could let loose with its best Iron Man poster.

The WacknessOr, look at this well-known throwup for Titanic, then check out this half-thought-out attempt at a teaser for the movie. What’s obvious is that, with the earlier effort, Paramount, again, didn’t quite know who they were speaking to yet. Nor did they, it seems, by the time the poster we all know came out: Check out its tagline, marketing James Cameron, Titanic‘s director, as that “of ‘Aliens,’ ‘T2’ and ‘True Lies.'” Oooooo…. Makes me warm. That oughta just reel in bored, unromanced stay-at-home moms, longing to see their long-lost high school boyfriends just one more time. I guess they figured that, if the movie flopped, they could at least rope up nerds.

Protocols of ZionAnother really taut site feature is that IMPA often lists credits for poster designers as links, allowing visitors to look at everything by a given talent on one page, and link from there to these stylists’ own web sites. So, clicking on the credit for my beloved Bellucci reveals a world of works by Concept Arts, stretching from Teen Wolf to Leatherheads. Going to Bemis Balkind’s cluster shows their hand has touched everything from this little-seen job for FOX’s House; to gorgeous realizations, here and here, for Mark Wahlberg’s Shooter; to these now landmark classics for Dead Presidents, Goldeneye, and Alien.

If there’s a downside to IMPA, from a collector’s perspective, it’s that they are, to a great extent, just a tease. They don’t sell anything; they just show it. A lot of the work there is unavailable, though they do widely provide links to web retailers for ones that are. However, sometimes those links don’t really work. Clicking on the link for Movie Goods—one of the web’s best places for buying film ephemera—didn’t get me this highly desirable teaser for The Sixth Sense, but a later version of the poster. The one I wanted was there, if one scrolled down, but only as a repro.

But what IMPA does, they do really well, which is what a good site should do. Try it. Look for something you love. Blame me if you end up spending a lot more time there, or even money, than you’d expected.



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