24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters has it's description right in the title. Yes, this is a feature length documentary about movie posters. Yes, that is the whole point of the film (that and 27x40 posters). Movie poster enthusiasts should certainly consider viewing it. This documentary isn't made for anyone other than it's target audience of poster fans. This feature was produced by David Lawson Jr. (The Endless) and Graham Lee. It explores the history of movie posters as promotional materials and also evaluates the collector value and artistic merit of movie artwork.
The film begins by focusing on going over the history of posters as promotional materials. Posters were only originally made in order to convince audiences a movie was worth checking out at their local cinema. Studios hired animators to illustrate posters that were often larger-than-life and even more exciting than many of the movies themselves. Decades before the advent of photoshop, hand-drawn and illustrated posters were the norm. Artists often made their living making posters for film studios.
A collector's market for movie posters eventually started. Although the primary focus of the posters has always been to help market films many film enthusiasts and artists have appreciated the hard-work and passion gone into the design of these film posters. Many rare classic movie posters went for hundreds of thousands of dollars when eventually discovered. Although most posters don't hold that level of value to the collector's market, poster fans remains a rabid club of enthusiasts who collect an assorted variety of posters and adorn them on their walls or store them in their collections.
The film explores illustrated movie posters from the heyday of cinema to fan favorites like Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Poltergeist, Gremlins, and Goonies. The documentary features interviews with modern poster artists like Mat Weller, Tracie Ching, Matthew Chojnacki, and Sharm Murugiah. These designers make their own art prints for beloved films and turn their passion into something other film fan's can appreciate. The film also features interviews with dedicated poster collectors and filmmakers like Joe Dante (Gremlins).
The film spends most of its run-time focusing on illustrated posters from the early decades of cinema to the resurgence of illustrated posters with the likes of Mondo art prints becoming so successful within the collector's market that posters tend to sell out in a matter of minutes after going on sale. The film mostly writes off studio posters post 1990 as "floating heads" art. This seems a bit unfair given some great designs are being made for big films today. However, the observed point of badly photoshopped posters is still true for many badly designed posters.
With cinematography and direction by Kevin Burke, 24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters is an entertaining and worthwhile exploration of movie posters and why both artists and collectors love them. Anyone who appreciates film and also loves the artwork associated with their favorite films should seek out this enjoyable documentary. As a lifelong poster fan, it's great hearing artists and collectors alike discussing this wonderful key in the universal language of cinema.
Presented on DVD with a 1.78:1 widescreen presentation. This is a pleasant enough looking film with decent cinematography and overall clarity. It's a clean looking presentation which has decent reproduction of the film's style. The quality is acceptable and isn't distracting from the viewing experience.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. This is a modest sound mix which barely even utilizes the stereo soundstage. This is no surprise given the low-budget nature of the production. However, the dialogue is still clear and easy to understand. It's a serviceable audio presentation.
Deleted and Extended Interviews (30 min.) with more discussion about movie posters and their significance to the world of cinema.
From classic poster art from the legendary Drew Struzan to modern illustrated posters from Mondo, movie posters continue to be one of the best tools available to promote a film. A simple and iconic image can enthrall audiences and pull them into the exciting world of a filmmaker's vision and story. For poster enthusiasts, 24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters is a must see. Although it's a little too focused on illustrated posters and doesn't highlight modern studio posters as objectively as it should, the film is a wonderful glance at the love of movie posters and the community that makes it worthwhile. As a huge poster enthusiast myself (who has loved collecting posters since childhood), it's exciting to see a documentary exploring this artistic medium.