Auto Focus Reviews

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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
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.

June 10, 2011
Greg Kinnear Was Really Good as Bob Crane
June 9, 2011
mad titty. 70's bush. entertaining.
Super Reviewer
½ December 7, 2009
Willem Dafoe is my GOD.
May 30, 2011
A really interesting portrait of Bob Crane's career and death, even if you don't know anything about him you'll still be able to enjoy this
½ February 3, 2009
about Bob Crane's (Hogan's Heroes) sordid, compulsive sexistance
Super Reviewer
½ January 11, 2009
Apparently there is a downside to pornography. Who knew?!?!
½ April 16, 2011
This movie reminds me in a way of Charlie Sheen. It seems that Bob Crane was into excessive sex porn (where it is not just for fun -- it destroys your home life) but he was also a forerunner of recording it and being a participant. I am a bit sorry I watched this movie, but I can't totally trash it because there was some good acting in it.
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.
½ October 16, 2010
Defoe is great and Schrader is an expert but there is a certain lack of commitment and Kinnear is kind of a dope. It's pretty good though.
½ March 18, 2007
The movie is about the life of the person who played Hogan on Hogan's Heroes, a tv show about prisoners of war in WWII in Germany. It is, for the most part, a true story. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction, as this film shows.

This movie starts out with a wholesome pre- Hogan's Hero, before he made it big, a great family and who is so straight he sees his friend, a priest to help him.

A true story of a person getting [i]way[/i] over their head in Hollywood and letting their inhibitions get the better of them. I always heard Hogan was a piece of work in real life, but this one shows it all.

I have to believe he was killed by his "friend", someone he tried to escape from but either wouldn't or couldn't. His "friend", a techo freak from the 60's, must have been Satan himself... he was always tempting Hogan with evil. They tried to prosecute the fellow twice, but the "friend" in reality got away with murder after all.

The movie tries to cast people in the roles of the TV show, Hogan's Heros, and succeeds mainly with Col. Klink, but with nobody else. Richard Dawson, an actor in the TV show, Hogans Heroes, is portrayed as a womanizer, something I wonder if he permitted if he saw the script, but he must have been ok with it because he displayed that "talent" on his quiz show, always kissing the gal contestants.

I kind of recommend this for the suspense of it all, but it is kinky in places and it is not credible that such a home type guy would be such a sleeze bag.

See it at your own risk. It was worth my time.
September 14, 2008
Not bad but it felt as though his life was cleaned up, to make it only a little different to the "respectable" norm.
½ May 16, 2010
This absorbing film dramatises the true events surrounding the life of popular 1960's American TV star Bob Crane and his increasingly obsessive and disturbing interest in sex focusing on his friendship with John 'Carpy' Carpenter, an electronics expert and co-swinger played in delightfully creepy fashion by Willem Dafoe. Schrader allows the underlying desires and unspoken fantasies of the two main characters to slowly come to the fore. The first two thirds of the film is a fairly bright and breezy affair showing the success of Crane's TV show Hogan's Heroes and the accompanying temptations that come his way. There are some very funny moments, most notably the scene with Crane's priest trying to offer spiritual support to a clearly wavering Crane with his offer to play drums with him instead of playing at a strip joint. The cutaway to a clearly very happy Crane playing the drums at a now much larger strip joint is a joy to behold. There are signs of the menace to come in some of the lingering looks Carpy gives Crane and the fact that you know this is a Schrader film but it is not until about an hour or so in that the film takes us, to quote another Schrader directed film, 'to the other side of the mirror'.

The central performance of Greg Kinnear is exemplary, he plays on the lovable nice guy image he's cultivated in films like You've Got Mail and As Good As It Gets to create a devastating and believable portrait of a simple and charming man who falls into a life of grime. The early innocence of Crane is perfectly captured and you can't help but go along with him as he boyishly has his way with the world of women who lay themselves at his feet.

He manages to make Crane an intrinsically likeable American sort of hero who just loves sex and women as this brilliantly explicit speech shows:

'I'm a normal, red-blooded American man. I like to look at naked women. I love breasts, any kind. I love 'em! Boobs, bazooms, balloons, bags, bazongas. The bigger, the better. Nipples like udders, nipples like saucers, big pale rosy-brown nipples. Little bitty baby nipples. Real or fake, what's the difference? I like tits. Who's kidding who? Tits are great!'

This could easily come across as misogynistic and crude but with Kinnear's affably mellow voice he manages to imbue a boyish enthusiasm into it and it comes across as strangely sweet and endearing. He also portrays Crane sense of uncertainty and confusion later in the film, particularly in one very effective scene with his son as he bemusedly asks his son about the colour orange - 'I mean what is it really? But that's it, tell me what it is. What's orange?'

As Crane ages disgracefully behind his Elvis sunglasses and the film slowly reveals its dark heart the cinematography and music brilliantly capture his descent with the colour seeming to drain out of the film and the music both emphasising and foreshadowing the sordid real life events that follow. For somebody who didn't know a thing about Bob Crane before watching this I have to say I found the last scene one of the most powerful and disconcerting things I've ever seen in a film. The gradual building up and gory release of tensions should demonstrate just what a fine filmmaker Schrader is and what a fine film this is too.

The only annoying thing about the film is the truly appalling English accent of Michael E Rodgers but it's a very minor and irrelevant fault really. If you're anything like me, this film will seep into your bloodstream like a sort of toxin, prodding your sensibilities and questioning your pleasures. You feel you're being led by the director through a moral battleground as we are left ultimately to make up our minds what to think of the two main characters - the film by turns suggests applause, puritan condemnation and finally a curious kind of acceptance as Crane says from beyond the grave 'I couldn't blame him, men gotta have fun.'
½ July 18, 2008
Bob Crane was one freaked up guy, watched this movie ages ago, it was basically all sex
Super Reviewer
February 6, 2009
WO! I need to see this Movie. I read the Book wrote by Robert Clary who played "Le Beu" on the Hogan`s Heroes Show, he was more negative regarding the Show and BOB Crane in his Book, let see what information the Movie brings up. I loved the Show. So hate me.
Super Reviewer
February 17, 2010
A day without sex is a day wasted. - Bob Crane
January 28, 2010
the life and death of bob crane is bought to the screen in all its glory. for the majority of people unaware of the backstory bob crane was famous for he's off screen antics from he's show 'hogan's heroes'.
the film never focuses on the end which could of been alot more interesting with the investigation into he's death. the film is solid but never anything more, sadly the filmmakers went with the conventional story instead.
great cast with a well written film sadly this one missed the masses with its subject matter. underrated this is one film you must see
January 24, 2010
Cool and somberly funny
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