Along with semiotic terms (signifier, signify, signified, denote, connotation etc) and media language terms (shot types, angles etc), you can also challenge yourself to use a little bit of theory.
'AIDA' is a common concept within the marketing and design industry - the resources below will help you identify what this is, and should help you create a smarter poster that is higher impact with your audience ...
This page uses lots of very clear examples and builds 'AIDA' into a 7-step design process.
Think about how the examples below use smart semiotics to tell the story; they encode the meaning through smart use of imagery which work as signifiers, connoting the genre and the theme of sex appeal. The image choice also suggests, or denotes, a female lead. The tagline helps, but isn't too obvious and doesn't clumsily provide anchorage for the otherwise polysemic meaning.
[if any of that is confusing, just ask me to go through it!]
The PowerPoint below uses elements from this website to look at the same idea.
Read more here and here.
It is used far beyond film posters - see here and here.