Auto Focus Reviews

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Geoff Andrew
Time Out
June 24, 2006
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Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
January 16, 2003
Schrader really isn't interested in Crane except as the straw man for his moral lessons about sin and sexuality and the nature of celebrity.
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David Edelstein
NPR's Fresh Air
November 16, 2002
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
November 8, 2002
How do you make a movie with depth about a man who lacked any? On the evidence before us, the answer is clear: Not easily and, in the end, not well enough.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
November 2, 2002
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
November 1, 2002
Admirably unconventional film.
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
November 1, 2002
It never answers the key question: Why should we care?
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
November 1, 2002
Watching this cold, detached movie, you never get the sense that Schrader cares one whit about Crane or is even curious about understanding the compulsions that wrecked his marriage and career and eventually cost him his life.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Susan Stark
Detroit News
November 1, 2002
It's no fun to watch, but there's no denying the power of its point of view, of its two lead performances and of its claim to attention as an evocation of recent social history.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
November 1, 2002
You may want to fast-forward to a movie with a point.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
November 1, 2002
Although Kinnear looks the part, he's never able to capture Crane's intangible charm, a peculiar mix of leering slickness and affable class clown.
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
October 31, 2002
The emptiness of serial seductions has never been painted in starker colors. And the message of Auto Focus stings and sticks with you.
| Original Score: 4/5
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Christopher Kelly
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
October 29, 2002
While Auto Focus isn't very much fun to watch, it exerts a queasy, powerful hold on us.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
October 29, 2002
Somewhat blurred, but Kinnear's performance is razor sharp.
| Original Score: B
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Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
October 29, 2002
Kinnear's performance is a career-defining revelation.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Mike Clark
USA Today
October 29, 2002
Michael Gerbosi's script is economically packed with telling scenes.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
October 29, 2002
From the opening razzmatazz and Vegas lounge-band arrangements behind the credits, to the crime-lab murder scene itself, Mr. Schrader captures the air-conditioned look and feel of the Hollywood dream factory.
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
October 26, 2002
Kinnear ... gives his best screen performance with an oddly winning portrayal of one of life's ultimate losers.
| Original Score: B
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
October 25, 2002
A well-crafted film about the life and death of TV actor Bob Crane.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Edward Guthmann
San Francisco Chronicle
October 25, 2002
A compelling, sympathetic portrait.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
October 25, 2002
Kinnear throws himself into the role, but because he's playing a bad actor who's unaware he's acting, his skill may not always be apparent.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Steven Rosen
Denver Post
October 25, 2002
Schrader, I think, has found an approach that suits the skewed cultural history of his material.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
October 25, 2002
A hypnotic portrait of this sad, compulsive life.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
October 25, 2002
With nary a glimmer of self-knowledge, [Crane] becomes more specimen than character -- and Auto Focus remains a chilly, clinical lab report.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Jane Sumner
Dallas Morning News
October 24, 2002
It's a provocative, challenging study in denial and one of its star's and its director's all-time bests.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
October 24, 2002
Often as poignant as it is perverse.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
October 24, 2002
Kinnear gives an amazing performance as the Hogan's Heroes star.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
October 24, 2002
Does strongly benefit from its overall smartness and lucidity, and from two very canny, well-thought-out performances by Kinnear and Dafoe.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
October 23, 2002
Everything in the movie rises and falls dismally, with little sense even of waste and loss.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
October 21, 2002
You don't have to know anything about Bob Crane, you don't to have ever watched Hogan's Heroes, and you can still appreciate the skill behind this film.
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
October 18, 2002
The brave conduit of Schrader's doom-laden moralism is Greg Kinnear, giving one of those revelatory performances that makes everything an actor does prior seem like marking time.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
October 18, 2002
[Kinnear's] performance has to be one of the most sympathetic acts of decency one actor has ever extended to another.
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
October 18, 2002
The performances are vividly alive.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
October 18, 2002
Auto Focus, Schrader's strongest movie since Affliction, is another meditation on American masculinity powerfully told with great wit and style.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Manohla Dargis
Los Angeles Times
October 17, 2002
Strangely wonderful and weirdly touching.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
October 17, 2002
[Kinnear's] marvelously ambiguous and deliciously blank here, lending a slightly sinister cast to every harmless, handsome man he's ever played.
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
October 15, 2002
This sexaholic Lost Weekend is way too punitive -- the celebrity version of Looking For Mr. Goodbar.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
October 15, 2002
A compelling motion picture that illustrates an American tragedy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Mike D'Angelo
Time Out
October 14, 2002
Combines the least appealing aspects of the biopic (episodic narrative, lack of imagination) with the least appealing aspects of the junkie's-downward-spiral genre (wearying repetition, lofty condescension).
| Original Score: 41/100
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
October 10, 2002
A potent and provocative look at how the male ego is affected by sex and self-image, especially when magnified by celebrity.
| Original Score: 4/4
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
October 3, 2002
Gets to you like a low-grade fever, a malaise with no known antidote.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
September 30, 2002
[Crane] is played with a touching, eager-to-please obliviousness by Greg Kinnear.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
September 11, 2002
We watch a life fall apart as one could observe an organism under a microscope -- with neither passion nor compassion. It comes awfully close to an exercise in morbidity.
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
September 4, 2002
This true-life saga of sex, lies and videotape is one of director Paul Schrader's best films, and like Boogie Nights ranks as a shrewd expose of recent Hollywood's slimy underside.