What We Do Is Secret Reviews

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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
November 24, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Hank Sartin
Time Out
November 18, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Jay Ruttenberg
Time Out
November 17, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 18, 2008
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John Hartl
Seattle Times
October 10, 2008
While What We Do Is Secret may not be remembered for much more than West's performance, it's an impersonation worth saluting.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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David Wiegand
San Francisco Chronicle
August 29, 2008
Some of the supporting performances, like those of Phillips and Gonzalez, are very strong, but it's West who lifts the entire film to a whole other level.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
August 28, 2008
Despite a terrific performance from Shane West, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Crash, Secret is a chronology, not a biopic.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Michael Ordoņa
Los Angeles Times
August 22, 2008
First-time writer-director Rodger Grossman bangs out a visceral, energized biopic that captures the vibrant idiocy of punked-out youth and a tortured soul gaining his wish of cult status.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
August 21, 2008
A labor of love for writer-director Rodger Grossman, this entertaining if superficial biopic chronicles the rise and fall of LA punk pioneers the Germs.
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Jim Emerson
Chicago Sun-Times
August 15, 2008
Where What We Do Is Secret succeeds is in the performances which (and this a compliment, I think) sometimes expose a stilted, amateurish strain that's oddly in tune with the characters' D.I.Y. aesthetic.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Sid Smith
Chicago Tribune
August 15, 2008
The best parts of Secret recall Sid and Nancy. The worst evoke the last, inferior A Star Is Born.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
August 11, 2008
West does an earnest job, but that's the problem: He never conjures Crash's psychotic danger. Neither does this eager, flawed, scrappy biopic.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
August 8, 2008
How ironic that a biopic about charismatic punk legend Darby Crash -- lead singer of the Germs in the late '70s -- would be so unmemorably bland.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Linda Stasi
New York Post
August 8, 2008
An unsatisfying biopic of the Germs, the seminal LA punkers led by Darby Crash.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Noel Murray
AV Club
August 8, 2008
For all the explanation, the main problem with What We Do Is Secret is that [director] Grossman fails to adequately convey why The Germs mattered so much.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Rafer Guzman
Newsday
August 8, 2008
The film's faux-documentary style is a distraction, but it fades in and out. Secret is most compelling when the people and places of L.A. tell this tragic but somehow still ebullient story.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Jeannette Catsoulis
New York Times
August 8, 2008
More amusing than tragic in its depiction of the band's infantile behavior.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
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Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter
August 8, 2008
Feels distressingly familiar and never quite manages to elevate the material with the sufficient drama to make it of interest to those not already passionate about the subject matter.
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Nick Pinkerton
Village Voice
August 5, 2008
What We Do Is Secret is totally hermetic: With a crack crew of set dressers, the entire thing could've been shot in a studio apartment. The London of Crash's fashion-finding trip is identified by putting West in a red UK telephone box.
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
August 5, 2008
With all his devotion to getting the story right -- and that's a worthy goal, don't get me wrong -- Grossman never captures the insanity and terror, or for that matter the seductive allure, of nihilist L.A. punk in its early years.
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Sara Cardace
New York Magazine/Vulture
August 4, 2008
The amateur vibe suits the subject matter, and the young cast rises to the challenge.
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Phil Gallo
Variety
September 22, 2007
A highly personal take on the ins and outs of creating and maintaining a band.