Saturday, December 20, 2008

Focus Features rocks my socks

Just got back from seeing Milk at the Castro Theater. I'll write more about that experience later on, but for now, can I just say how much I love Focus Features? Seriously, it is almost absurd how frequently a Focus Features release turns out to be my favorite movie of a given year. Sometimes when I see their logo appear before a movie or a trailer, I even get giddy with anticipation.

For a run of 3 or 4 years earlier this decade, Focus Features held utter sway over my heart and the hearts of other cinephiles. I can never settle on what my favorite movie of 2002 is, but Focus' Far From Heaven is definitely up there. (The other contenders are The Hours and Adaptation. Great year for Streep and Moore!) And my favorite pictures of 2003, 2004 and 2005 are all Focus releases: Lost in Translation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Brokeback Mountain.

After that, Focus lost their way a little bit. 2006 was the first year that none of their movies got any Oscar nominations; and in 2007, Atonement was certainly a well-made and acclaimed movie, but in some subtle way, it doesn't feel "Focus-y"... it's the kind of prestige drama that any studio could have released. Besides, I think I love the book Atonement too much to ever consider naming a film version of it, no matter how good, as my favorite film of the year.

But this year, Focus is back in form and I am loving it. My two favorite new movies of 2008 are In Bruges and Milk--both of them Focus Features productions. Like I said, this is getting ridiculous... but I don't want it to end!

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