Robert Abele

Robert Abele
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Film Critic, LA Weekly

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
63% Brightburn (2019) What if Superman started out evil? And what if that was the only idea you had for your movie? - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
50% Quartet (2019) "Quartet" retains its power to unsettle in its accumulation of cuts and bruises, the rare Merchant-Ivory-Jhabvala effort that mines a glamorized past not for nuanced dignity but for a kind of elegant, honest sordidness. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
82% We Have Always Lived in the Castle (2019) The movie, though, which was adapted by Mark Kruger, is all surface polish and play-acted oddness, from the cloying symmetry of the stalely composed shots to the cartoonish depiction of some awfully complicated - nigh perverse - family relationships. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
59% Trial by Fire (2019) [I]t's hard not to feel that even at a little over two hours, there's a rushed, assembly-line quality to how "Trial by Fire" wants to work our emotions. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 16, 2019
91% Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen (2018) At its intimate best, "Merata" is an embrace and an education, a son's love letter and for cineastes, a celebration of inclusion and voice. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019
89% John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) The set-up for a "Chapter 4" is a sign that the creators have an extended stay on their minds, even though they might want to check out while this uniquely enjoyable violent fantasy still feels like an action holiday. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019
89% The Biggest Little Farm (2019) [O]nce you absorb back-to-the-earth porn as lovingly crafted as "The Biggest Little Farm," you might just turn into one of those market gadflies who wants nothing but the most authentic story behind that dewy stone fruit or mocha brown egg. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
63% My Son (Mon garçon) (2019) Now that Neeson has turned the mad-dad genre into a familiar blueprint of grimaces and cathartic violence, it's good to see one draw much of its tautness from tracking whether Canet's Julien is more likely to endanger himself than to locate his son. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted May 8, 2019
94% Ask Dr. Ruth (2019) A long-overdue bio-doc that, in its spirited way, is as affirming as last year's paean to another important octogenarian Ruth, RBG. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2019
85% Meeting Gorbachev (2019) "Meeting Gorbachev," which Herzog co-directed with frequent collaborator André Singer, is less a journalistic endeavor than an admirer's tour - with room for blackly funny Herzog-ian touches in his choice of archival clip or patently demonic voice-over. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
100% At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal (2019) Erin Lee Carr's "At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal" is a compellingly woven true-crime primer that serves both the gist of what happened while exploding your consciousness over what needs to be done in the future. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2019
57% J.T. LeRoy (2019) But where Dern and Stewart kick-start something worth exploring, the movie around them is pleased spectator instead of engaged participant. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
86% Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (Préparez vos Mouchoirs) (1978) "Get Out Your Handkerchiefs" may not shock the way it once did, but it remains the purest expression of Blier's comic métier, treating naughty ideas with the straightest of faces. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2019
100% The Juniper Tree (1990) "The Juniper Tree" is absorbing enough to make one rue there weren't more. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 16, 2019
15% After (2019) The kind of dispiriting effort that thinks it's scratching an itch for masochistic young girls, but primarily suggests that romance, desire and sexuality aren't worth genuinely exploring. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
72% Teen Spirit (2019) "Teen Spirit" is somewhere between feeling abbreviated and wearing out its welcome. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
81% Dogman (2019) At its best, when we can live "Dogman" through Marcello's eyes, the movie keeps reminding you of that opening, of people and animals, menace and kindness, and the cages we sometimes don't realize we've made for ourselves. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
65% Peterloo (2019) Whether you walk away from Leigh's no-nonsense slice of this history remembering the impassioned oratory of angry citizens or their murderous treatment by a cruel government is, on some level, Leigh's referendum on what we want from movies. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2019
100% Roll Red Roll (2019) Schwartzman's careful narrative derives its power not just from the archived depravity that gave prosecutors plenty of evidence... but the troubling inquiry - with no simple answers - at the heart of the case. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2019
78% The Legend of Cocaine Island (2018) The details get repetitive, the turnabout you can see a mile away... - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 1, 2019
60% Ferrante Fever (2019) A biography may have been impossible, but in spotlighting a writer who leaves no emotion or thought unexamined, this documentary won't satisfy devotees hoping for a dive as deep as those their beloved author can produce. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
75% Sobibor (2018) The question is whether a button-pushing movie like "Sobibor" is the ideal way to experience it. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 28, 2019
93% Screwball (2019) Corben takes to the material like somebody electrified by its possibilities to stir outrage in baseball traditionalists, fascination in the criminality-obsessed, and laughter in those easily amused by South Florida's more colorful characters. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 26, 2019
76% Hotel Mumbai (2019) Any movie that sweats bullets to vividly portray what real bullets do is in its way a kind of grim act of artistic service to our violence-saturated culture. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 22, 2019
94% The Eyes of Orson Welles (2018) On its own, it's a nimble, eccentric, sometimes questionable but mostly insightful journey into the coursing visual mind of a voracious and revolutionary artist. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2019
94% The Mustang (2019) Her film is about a relationship forged in a give-and-take that treats beast and human as emotional equals. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 15, 2019
86% Iceman (2019) "Iceman" is almost like something unearthed itself: a recognizable B western sharpened as much by its glints of psychology as by its kinetic savagery. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
94% Styx (2019) Its dizzying strength is as a visceral journey, a detour from the privileged freedom represented by a horizon to the tragic limbo of displacement, an ocean that's both a confinement and an abyss. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
100% Babylon (2019) Assertive and ebullient, "Babylon" is as alive as a movie can be to the everyday mesh of liberating art, humorous camaraderie and hazardous political reality. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
98% Ash Is Purest White (2019) Once again spotlighting a superb performance by his longtime creative partner and wife Zhao Tao, Jia's vision makes for a heady brew of love, loss, and loneliness over three time frames that coincide with huge changes in China. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
75% Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People (2019) Mostly, though, this conventionally made, PBS-friendly biodoc marked by those pages you could fall into... is a brisk, engaging-enough reminder of why the man's name is synonymous with press freedom and prizes for the best in reporting. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2019
80% Level 16 (2019) But as it sputters toward its curtain-exposing conclusion, "Level 16" stays disappointingly thin, both as a dark-future cautionary saga and a genre exercise. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2019
58% Saint Judy (2019) The early glimmers of something soulful and sobering - rooted in investigative details and detention center realities - ultimately give way to the tired mechanics of give-it-all uplift. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2019
85% The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019) "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" - feeds our hunger for inspiring tales in these desperate times with a beautifully engineered narrative latticework of hardship, hope, and know-how. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2019
58% Touch Me Not (2019) "Touch Me Not," is fairly mesmerizing as a mindful curio that blends performance and honesty, artifice and openness, to achieve a kind of inviting clarity about the healing power of bodily contact. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2019
92% Paddleton (2019) [T]o fight against "Paddleton" and its no-frills, in-the-moment mission of mercy is, ultimately, useless. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 21, 2019
88% To Dust (2019) The movie could use a little more energy - this is Paul Mazursky territory, after all, not Andrei Tarkovsky - but in its sick-but-sweet attempt to reclaim grief from the trappings of tradition, "To Dust" is its own well-measured godsend. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2019
73% Lords of Chaos (2019) "Lords of Chaos" is two hours of boys behaving badly, but somehow forgets that the devil is in the details. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2019
38% Untogether (2019) At its chill, observant best resembles what a left coast, smart-satiric-serious kind of romantic comedy might look like going forward as we wean ourselves of the influence a certain bespectacled New York comic auteur has had over the genre for decades. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
73% The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot (2019) It's the strangest feeling to watch a movie comprising so many worthy elements but missing the glue that unifies it. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
91% 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts - Animation (2019) This year's Oscar-nominated shorts carry plenty of emotional weight in their compact running times with stories that span life's breadth. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
100% 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts - Documentary (2019) This year's Oscar-nominated shorts carry plenty of emotional weight in their compact running times with stories that span life's breadth. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
81% 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts - Live Action (2019) This year's Oscar-nominated shorts carry plenty of emotional weight in their compact running times with stories that span life's breadth. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2019
81% Daughter of Mine (Figlia mia) (2019) Central to the movie's full-bloodedness, though, when all pistons are working, are the richly felt portrayals from its trio of leads. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
71% Piercing (2019) Pesce deploys a potent arsenal of stylistic tools - urban landscape miniatures, plushly disquieting Lynchian interiors, flashbacks, creature effects, and florid gore - to tell the story of Reed. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
89% Arctic (2019) Though it's not anything new in terms of dramatic representation, in its solidly visceral execution - stressing a belief in filmmaking's basic tools of storytelling that's almost refreshing - it earns its place among the genre's stalwarts. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
50% Jihadists (Salafistes) (2019) While there is a certain abject fascination in the unvarnished reality on display... the lack of an off-screen voice saying "Yeah, but ..." is ultimately maddening. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2019
92% High Flying Bird (2019) An exhilarating think piece about the tantalizing possibilities for a game that's meant so much for its predominantly black athletes, but is still mostly run by a wealthy, white class resistant to change or to sharing power. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 27, 2019
85% West of Sunshine (2017) In the modest but sneakily affecting Australian father-son drama "West of Sunshine," your sympathies for a problematic dad come and go in waves, sometimes within the span of a few seconds. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2019
24% Polar (2019) Too bad the only thrill you get from all the bloodletting is that you know each cartoony death brings you that much closer to the end credits. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 24, 2019