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Auto Focus

3.5 out of 5 stars 123 customer reviews

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(Mar 18, 2003)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Greg Kinnear, Willem Dafoe, Maria Bello, Rita Wilson, Ron Leibman
  • Directors: Paul Schrader
  • Writers: Michael Gerbosi, Robert Graysmith
  • Producers: Alicia Allain, Brian Oliver, James Schamus, Larry Karaszewski, Patrick Dollard
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Arabic, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009PBSG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #712,947 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Auto Focus" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 21, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Autofocus is the story of actor Bob Crane's rise to popularity as Colonel Hogan on Hogan's Heroes through his fall from grace in Hollywood and eventual murder, based on the Book 'The Murder of Bob Crane' by Robert Graysmith. Bob Crane (Greg Kinnear) is a supremely likable guy with a family and a popular prime time sitcom, but also with a penchant for pornography and casual sex when he meets a man named John Carpenter (Willem Dafoe) on the set of Hogan's Heroes. Carpenter was a sales representative for Sony's cutting edge technologies when they were developing VTR technology, a precursor to videotape. Crane, a lifelong photography enthusiast, was quite taken with this new technology. Also being a huge fan of pornography, he took the opportunity that VTR provided to make an astounding number of pornographic 'home movies' of anyone who would let him. Bob Crane's philandering and sexual obsession, often encouraged and facilitated by John Carpenter, became pathological and seemingly out of his own control, eventually costing him his first marriage and damaged his ability to get roles in Hollywood. Bob Crane was murdered in 1978 . The movie asserts the most popular hypothesis as to who committed the crime. But the circumstances surrounding his murder actually remain unclear.

Greg Kinnear gives the performance of his life as the affable, compulsive Bob Crane. I only know Bob Crane from television, but, based on what I've seen, Kinnear nailed Crane's mannerisms perfectly. Willem Dafoe is superb as bright, needy, and sleazy John Carpenter. Rita Wilson is admirable in her supporting role as Bob Crane's first wife Anne. Maria Bello plays his second wife, actress Patricia Olson.
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Format: DVD
"You tell them Bob Crane is normal. Tell them sex is normal." -- Bob Crane in "Auto Focus"
Sex addictions typically invite a smile, and maybe envy. "Auto Focus," which chronicles the traveling sexual misadventures of the television star Crane, is a very funny movie, but, to its credit, inspires none of the latter emotion. If Bob Crane's life was perfectly normal, as Crane seemed to believed for a time, than "normal" is one hell of a raw, tiring deal.
In a year of virtuoso male performances, Greg Kinnear was overlooked for his portrayal of the "Hogan's Heroes" star, but Kinnear delivers the performance of his still young career. He has Crane's look, his bemusement, his bewilderment, his shallowness and his greed.
But at the outset of "Auto Focus," Crane is still a LA radio disc jockey and a bit of a goof -- a "cut up" as he calls it -- and still a reasonably devoted-if-vacant family man.
And then Crane lands the "Hogan's" gig. He meets the 1960s version of a tekkie in John Carpenter (Willem Dafoe), who hangs around stars and peddles new gadgets, like the Sony Video Tape Recorder. Crane, it turns out, is a gadget man himself. Together, they use the VTR to record one another having sex with women.
Carpenter is the creep to end all creeps, but Crane is so locked into being affable that he bypasses the unseemliness for Carpenter's universal interests in naked women and booze. When he starts drumming late nights at a strip club, it's clear that his high school sweetheart-turned wife, Anne (Rita Wilson) won't be seeing him much any longer. There is one break when Crane discovers Carpenter is probably gay -- "It was a group grope!" Carpenter pleads -- but the rift is mended when Crane's home VTR player breaks, and only one man can fix it.
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1 Comment 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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I am old enough to remember when Hogan's Heroes first made its appearance on national television. The unusual comedy series regarding a German POW camp was fluff and few thought otherwise. Bob Crane portrayed the central character in a casual and easygoing manner. He reminded no one of the great actors of his generation. To be blunt, Director Paul Schrader's newly released movie highlights the life of someone who normally would be long forgotten. Auto Focus depicts Bob Crane as a practicing Catholic who fails to heed his church's warning that one must shun the occasions of sin. Crane takes one bite of the apple of temptation and is almost instantaneously unable to exercise any significant control over his sexual appetites. One need not be a religious person to concede that Crane became a slave to passion and no longer the master over his own destiny. There is one unavoidable fact about any form of addiction: the addict neglects the important people and other responsibilities in their life. Bob Crane was no exception to the general rule.
Greg Kinnear aptly portrays Crane as an obsessed man who strictly adhered to the motto "a day without sex is a wasted one." He meets the somewhat parasitical John Carpenter (Willem Dafoe) who introduces him to the numerous females eager to sleep with a famous actor. Both men share a common interest in taking pictures of their exploits. This inevitably does little to aid Crane's career which is premised upon his marketed image as a clean cut all-American husband and father figure. Crane psychologically and existentially disintegrates into a pitiful creature undeserving of respect. We know something bad is going to happen. It's merely a question of when and where.
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