Movie Poster Collection

I have acquired nearly 300 movie related posters over the years. Many have been gifts from friends, some were won in trivia contests, a lot were obtained on site at an event, and some I purchased on line. The greatest source of posters for me over the years has been however two stores in Hollywood California. “Cinema Collectors” which no longer exists, usually had a few things that I could not find other places, but frankly, it was not a very interesting store. The other retail location I have favored over the years is “Hollywood Book and Poster”. I first found it when it was located on Las Palmas, just North of Hollywood Blvd. It felt like a giant swap meet there, with scripts and posters and odd other things just about everywhere. A few years after I first started shopping there, they relocated to Hollywood Blvd itself, down near Ivar. That location was darker, which made the posters on the walls look even more inviting. They also had a back room area where you would speak to the employee that would dig out your poster from what was a vault like closet. There were also a number of movie promo buttons that I would always peruse because I collect them as well. They were at that spot only a few years and then moved down the Blvd to a location a couple of doors away from the Hollywood Toy Store and Hollywood Magic. This location is not as interesting or as easy to browse through as the other stores were. A couple of years ago, they also cut the size of the store in half and now work out of a fairly narrow business set up.

It has been my habit since the first year I was married, to travel down to Hollywood to shop for posters for a family gift or two (or sometimes ten). Last Christmas I made the trip and I did not buy anything because I did not fall in love with any of the posters that were then on hand. Christmas usually means that the teaser posters for the Summer movies would be showing up and I liked having those up in the house for friends to see what I was looking forward to. The internet is killing brick and mortar stores all over the place. There are no record stores for the most part, Hollywood Magic is closed and has a single small counter in the Toy Store down from where they once were. I suppose it won’t be too long that Eric, the owner of Hollywood Book and Poster, will close down and save the money from having a shop on the Blvd. He and his regular employees have never been particularly friendly but they were usually knowledgeable and attentive when you knew what you wanted.

In the slide show above, you will see about 80% of my collection. This has been a project that I have been working on for a couple of weeks now. So many of the posters were stuck in the garage, potentially gathering dust and not easily accessible to me. I decided to inventory and file them in a system that would be a lot easier to use. Originally, I planned to photograph each poster but the time I had went by way to quickly and I did not have the materials I needed to shoot them the way I wanted. That will be a task for another time. I have simply searched on line for images to put into this slide show so that any of you interested could look and see. I am planning several posts on the posters themselves in the near future. There are some fun stories and I have opinions on many of the posters I own. Some of these posters are from films I have never seen and the posters are not very attractive. Most of the ones that I purchased have a certain kind of graphic look to them. I love the work of the artist Drew Struzen, and while only a few of these are in my collection, there are several others that are also quite spectacular.

For now, feel free to browse. These are not for sale, they are only being shared with the readers of this site. If you have suggestions for essays or posters that you like, please feel free to leave some comments.

Lockout (2012)

There was no way this movie was going to be much good. It came out of no where, was made by nobody and had virtually no publicity around it. Hell, I did not even know it existed till I saw the trailer a month ago. So if all of that is true, why did I go and see it? Simple, Guy Pearce. I have been a fan of his since I first saw “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”. There he was the screwed up drag queen, who did not know when to shut his mouth. Here he plays the same character, except that he is not a drag queen and is fighting convicts in space rather than backwards yahoos in the Australian outback. OK, maybe there are a few other differences as well.

From my point of view, he is the actor from L.A. Confidential who got screwed out of completing the L.A. Confidential Academy Award, Best Actor trifecta. Kevin Spacey won the next year for “American Beauty”, Russell Crowe won the year after that for “Gladiator”, and Pearce not only did not win for his brilliant performance in “Memento”, he did not even get nominated. He did however appear in the Academy Award winning Best Pictures for the two years prior to this. That gives him some professional cred. So what is he doing in this slice of sci-fi /action mash up? Hell, Michael Caine has made a lot of crummy movies over the years as well, sometimes you just have to pay the mortgage. Plus, he does get to be the lead in an action film which let’s him channel his best Kurt Russell snarl and Bruce Willis bravado and play cops and robbers in space.

The set up of the movie is made clear in the trailer. A top security prison in space is taken over by the inmates and the President’s daughter is one of the hostages. Enter tough guy, rogue spy/cop to infiltrate alone and try to save the day. It’s basically “Escape From Space”, minus any John Carpenter competence. The story is boiler plate action spy nonsense which has a mysterious briefcase being sought after but it largely turns out that is simply an excuse to make us suspicious of everyone’s motives. Plot is not really where this movie is going to leave an impression. The script also does not treat most of the characters as if they have any common sense. The one main exception is the dialog that spills out of Pearce’s character Snow’s mouth. He has a wisecrack for every occasion and an insult for everyone in sight. Listening to him spit out a punchline or mutter a crack under his breath is what makes this work at all. He is not some unbeatable robotic character like Arnold, he just happens to be the right kind of guy they need and he gets lucky, the script fixes most of his problems so he does not have to get by trying to out tough the scum of the Earth.

The effects on the shoot seem to be a mix of well done space backgrounds, lousy action CGI, and endless soundstage tunnels that allow the characters to get from place to place without being seen by every convict on the prison satellite. This was the first time I saw in the credits, every name of every member of the orchestra that played the score; including the instrument they played. As I looked at the credits, it was clear that most of the below the line talent came from somewhere in Eastern Europe. I never saw so many names ending in “vic” in my life. The two main bad guys in the prison, sounded like they had heavy Scottish brogues or were such drunken Irishmen that no one could understand most of what they say. Peter Stormare plays the head of the Secret Service/Security Service, and he has little to do except glower at other characters. The lead actress looked familiar but I had the cheat and look at IMDB to see she played Liam Neeson’s daughter in “Taken”.  So basically she is being typecast. You actually sort of hate her character anyway because she is so oblivious to the world she lives in. By the end of the movie though, she is supposed to be the smartest person in the story.

The movie was not something I could recommend to anyone except those who have a taste for dumb Saturday matinee fare. This was a low budget action film that needed to get the most out of it’s main asset, the lead actor. Guy Pearce delivers but it is something that you wouldn’t have ordered if he was not the deliveryman.