Blu-ray Review: AUTO FOCUS

AUTO FOCUS (aka autofocus) is based on “The Murder of Bob Crane” by Robert Graysmith. The movie was directed by Paul Schrader from a screenplay by Michael Gerbosi and stars Greg Kinnear, Willem Dafoe, Rita Wilson, Maria Bello, Ron Liebman, Kurt Fuller, Ed Begley Jr. and Michael McKean. The score is by Angelo Badalamenti.

Auto Focus (2002) is director Paul Schrader’s “dramatized” biography of Bob Crane (Greg Kinnear, in a career-making performance), a TV sitcom star (Hogan’s Heroes) who descended into sexual addiction, obsessed with recording his encounters with scores of women. Willem Dafoe co-stars as John Henry Carpenter, an electronics expert who encouraged and collaborated with Crane; he becomes a prime suspect after Crane is bludgeoned to death in an Arizona motel room.

This 2002 bio-drama follows Bob Crane – radio show host, musician, actor and loving family man who slowly lost his way once he got the gig of his lifetime. When Bob Crane finally got his big break as the main character in the sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes,” things slowly started going in the wrong direction for him but when John Henry Carpenter became his wing man, things really got way out of control. You see, Bob Crane lived a double life because he appeared to be this likable family man on the outside but behind-the-scenes was this perverted creeper who was addicted to sex.

Bob Crane cheated on his wives and loved to have sex with other women, so much so. that he enjoyed taking lots of pictures and video of his sexcapades. It’s always great to have a loyal friend because Crane’s running partner John Henry Carpenter was always there to help him document those wild and crazy adventures. Crane went through several marriages but always put his addiction first and when he finally had a wake up call, it was too late. Somebody didn’t handle it so well and decided to bash Crane’s head in and murder him. Carpenter was the suspect of the foul crime but he was never found guilty so who knows who really killed this man. It’s a mystery!

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, an image, a few quotes, and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some “polaroid shots” from the movie. The Blu-ray disc features its own individual artwork. Inside is a booklet from Twilight Time that includes more images from the movie, some nice words about Auto Focus by Julie Kirgo and more original artwork on the front and back. You can see the front cover of the booklet down below. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any serious issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Auto Focus is a fascinating and heartbreaking watch about this TV star who ended up losing control of his personal and business life because of his sex addiction that unfortunately led to his untimely and mysterious death. I don’t know how much of the story is spot on accurate but one thing is for sure, he lived an interesting double life. I thought the cast delivered some fantastic performances and Greg Kinnear hit it out of the park with his portrayal as Bob Crane, followed closely by Willem Dafoe as his creepy friend, John Henry Carpenter. By the way, Greg Kinnear doesn’t get the kudos he so rightfully deserves because he’s a really great actor and Dafoe never disappoints as the antagonist of the story. Paul Schrader did a really good job directing this movie that’s a mixture of dark humor, dirty sexcapades and emotional drama all rolled into one intriguing cinematic experience. Auto Focus is now available on Blu-ray and has a limited edition run of 3,000 units.

Distributor: Twilight Time

Run Time: 106 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1) Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 / English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: Good Stuff! The impressive list of extras include Twilight Time’s isolated music track, three audio commentaries, two featurettes, five deleted scenes and two trailers.

  • Isolated Music Track
  • Audio Commentary with Director Paul Schrader
  • Audio Commentary with Actors Greg Kinnear and Willem Dafoe
  • Audio Commentary with Producers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, and Screenwriter Michael Gerbosi
  • Murder in Scottsdale (49:29)
  • Making-of Featurette (06:52)
  • 5 Deleted Scenes with Optional Director Commentary (06:09)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (01:52)
  • Redband Theatrical Trailer (01:57)

 

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