Auto Focus Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ November 20, 2012
Watchable, but not recommendable.
jjnxn
Super Reviewer
½ August 20, 2007
Extremely dark but with good acting.
Super Reviewer
½ December 7, 2009
Willem Dafoe is my GOD.
flixsterman
Super Reviewer
½ January 11, 2009
Apparently there is a downside to pornography. Who knew?!?!
Super Reviewer
½ March 25, 2007
A well made film about the actor Bob Crane from a hit 70's TV show. His soaring popularity effects him in many ways, becoming a sex addict and with technology progressing at the time making his own "home" videos and pictures. A little known film with a good cast, how much you like it depends on whether you knew of the actor or TV show. I didn't but still found it interesting as it's based on true events.
Clintus M.
Super Reviewer
½ January 13, 2011
This movie is the portarit of Bob Crane's degeneration from seemingly wholesome family man into a deplorable, disgusting condition. Because of his dual personas, many never knew the real man. The best aspect of the film may be its tone; the viewer actually feels Crane's decline, and the tone increases in melancholy. I found myself becoming depressed. Secondly, these are some of the best performances you'll see. The leads, Kinnear and Dafoe are stunningly realistic. Dafoe's Carpenter is needy, creepy, and slimy. Kinnear's Crane is charmingly likeable while just as sleazy and completely amoral. Kurt Fuller as Col. Klink is a riot, perfect casting.

Its a study of addiction. Like any addict, Crane constantly announced plans to change but never made any effort. If he really meant to in the end, that's probably what got him killed. His obsession ruined his life and career.

Director Paul Schrader may have made a faithful adaptation of the source book, but it left me wanting more of some things and less of others. It did have plenty of sleaze. Its a gloomy, unflinching film, and I recommend it to anyone willing to delve into the dark underbelly of success.
366weirdmovies
Super Reviewer
½ May 7, 2009
Actor Bob Crane gets the lead in "Hogan's Heroes," then loses his family and career because of extreme bad judgement in filming his numerous swinging sexcapades. Not a serious study of "sex addiction" but glorified softcore sleaze dressed up as tragic drama, which actually makes a reasonably nice break from all the glorified violence dressed up as epic adventure.
DragonEyeMorrison
Super Reviewer
February 3, 2008
Great chemistry between Kinnear and Dafoe. Good direction but the plot feels aimless at times. Crane's character feels very little explored. Neverless, the movie never gets dull.
deano
Super Reviewer
February 20, 2007
Interesting true Hollywood story about the life and times of 1960s TV luminary Bob Crane from his days as radio jock to Hogan's Heroes celebrity, married man, strip club frequenter, to sex-addict and do-it-yourself handicam porngrapher.
Super Reviewer
November 13, 2006
This film was so dark and creepy. Therefore I loved it.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ January 2, 2006
"Auto Focus" is based on a true story. It is 1964 in Los Angeles and DJ Bob Crane(Greg Kinnear) has just received an offer from his agent(Ron Liebman) to star in a new TV series called "Hogan's Heroes". The show turns out to be wildly popular and turns Crane into a star. While at the studio one day, Crane meets John(no, not the film director) Carpenter(Willem Dafoe), a top salesman from Sony who is selling the first VTR's(video tape recorders) to select clientele. Carpenter also introduces Crane to the world of strip joints where Crane sits in as a drummer on occasion.(Crane is a married man. He also an interest in photography which spills over into nudes.) He also exploits Crane's interest in pornography into a full swinging lifestyle which is recorded for posterity by Carpenter's equipment.

I do not honestly see what the point of "Auto Focus" is supposed to be. A whole bunch of topics are barely touched on like dubious celebrity and the need for self-control.(And Crane is not the first nor the last one-hit wonder in television history.) Yes, "Hogan's Heroes" does sound like a bad idea but then so does "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer."

The relationship between Crane and Carpenter is not really homoerotic in nature. It is more like shared misogyny. Both men only seem interested in the physical side of women and Crane takes pictures just of female body parts.(But on the other hand, the movie pays little attention to its female characters.) And I wonder if Carpenter ever had a lasting relationship with a woman? I do not know anything about the real Carpenter but Dafoe only shows off the character's sleazy and sinister side which would not exacly make him somebody you would want to hang out with, much less swing with.

Playboy Magazine had been published since 1953, so I don't understand why nude photography would be a huge surprise 12 years later. And Crane and Carpenter are ahead of their time by creating pornographic home movies in the 1960's.
stevetheman1236
Super Reviewer
August 17, 2011
Never before have I seen a movie present such lurid subject matter with such an upbeat tone -- excluding Todd Solondz's Happiness, that is.

Paul Schrader is a man who certainly knows how to capture the darker points of life onscreen. Auto Focus and Affliction, the latter being a personal favorite of mine, are perfect examples of that. Schrader begins by showing us a character that has been a victim of circumstance, and then leads us down a path to despair as they are swallowed by their own sin. In the end, we cannot help but feel pity for them
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Though Schrader is indifferent to the lead character, Bob Crane, it is clear that he loathes and holds a deep resentment for the sin that Crane commits. It is exactly that that makes Auto Focus such a good film, not to mention the wonderful performance from Greg Kinnear.

There need to be more directors like Paul Schrader out there. Cinema does have a purpose, but, sadly, it is typically used to entertain audiences with either bad jokes, loud action, or both.

I, for one, feel that cinema is a perfect way to warn the world of the dangers and temptations that lurk beneath the happy exterior, the dangers that lurk like characters in a David Lynch film.

Cinema's number one purpose is for entertainment, yes, and I have no quarrels with that, but take a look at the world we live in. Look at the box office totals between Auto Focus and, say, Transformers.

Surprised?
Super Reviewer
May 15, 2008
I had no idea Bob Crane led such an "interesting" life. I new that he was murdered and that the case was never solved, but I had no idea that he had such a strong sex addiction. I was worried that this would be another ups and downs of stardom bio-pic, but Auto Focus is so frank and unapologetic that it becomes original for simply having the guts to hold no punches. Greg Kinnear gives a terrific performance as Crane and Paul Schrader deserves so much credit for never giving the audience a moment of hope in the downward spiral of Bob Crane.
zeravenyoej
Super Reviewer
½ January 13, 2008
About 3/4ths of this movie is fast-paced, juicy fun, but things get a little trite and cliched in the this-has-gone-too-far section. Greg Kinnear is the perfect choice to capture this guy's double personality: old-fashioned nice guy and closeted pervert. The day-dream sequence is particularly strong.
Critique Threatt
Super Reviewer
April 13, 2010
I admire the character Bob Crane who is known for acting in the 1960's TV series "Hogan's Heroes" but there is a haunting personal side of Crane I didn't know and that was his passion (actually his obsession) with photography and video equipment while mixing it in with his sexual escapades with women. Filmmaker Paul Schrader knows these characters inside out from his Travis Bickle, to Wade Whithouse and even Mishima. It is Crane's personal dark obsession that I instantly noticed.

The first half is filled with Crane's happy life(Schrader and his crew uses bright colors to suggest the feeling) as the film reaches the early 1970's the colors start to drab a little and the camera movement becomes shaky because Crane's life at that time was getting WAY to shaky. Greg Kinnear was born to play the DJ/Actor sensation and Dafoe is creepy as John Carpenter.

Premise: Auto Focus is a cautionary tale of addiction. What kills Crane, it says, is a lethal combination of sex, video, and celebrity: Because of his fame he can go to bed with a different woman (or several) every night. And because the mid-'60s marks the birth of a new technology-home video-and he's pals with a celebrity hanger-on named John Carpenter (a prodigiously cretinous Willem Dafoe) who works at Sony, he can videotape his conquests and relive them whenever he wants to. Which is basically all the time.
Super Reviewer
November 29, 2011
Paul Schrader's "Auto Focus" is shockingly bleak, abrupt, and offers virtually no catharsis. Never before have I seen a movie present such lurid subject matter with such an upbeat tone.
toejambaseball24
Super Reviewer
½ March 11, 2009
If there was ever a movie that illustrated how dangerous sex can be, this movie is it. You start off with a successful career, a nice wife, a good Christian family, and then you get curious. The next thing you know you're cheating on your wife, then you're doing weirder and weirder stuff, then you're addicted, then you look back and realize that your family has fallen apart, and then betrayal happens and you die...all in the name of a good time.

And this is a true story too. Kinnear plays his part quite well, though I thought Dafoe was a little too old and overtly creepy for his part. Never heard of Bob Crane before, but that dude straight up lost sight of the Jeez, and and a downward spiral ensued.
½ January 6, 2013
An interesting story (based on real life events), but I found myself not caring much for the main character, and also the movie seemed to drag a little towards the end.
August 30, 2011
I'm happy to have finally given this latter day Schrader film another look, as my recollections of it consisted mostly of fuzzy day-glo scenes from the portions set in the '60s.

Painting a rather unapologetic portrait of a man allowed to indulge his excesses, the film is amazingly watchable and well worth a rental at the very least.

Recommended.
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