Robert Abele

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

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
69% 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
95% 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
85% 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
71% 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
78% 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
61% 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
86% 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
56% 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
89% 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
71% 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
75% 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
90% 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
79% 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
88% 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
93% 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
No Score Yet El Potro: Lo mejor del amor (2018) The music is, naturally, a zesty, insistent heartbeat, but even the subject's cultural importance selling a regional music to the masses is barely explored - too much of "El Potro" thinks vice is spice. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
100% Lionheart (2018) [A] sleepy charmer. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 17, 2019
93% Don't Come Back from the Moon (2019) If "Don't Come Back From the Moon" isn't entirely successful, it means well as an engaged, considerate tour of a recognizably broken landscape - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2019
79% Buffalo Boys (2019) The fights are leaden... and the character development is constrained by dumb dialogue, such meager tending-to of an Asian action flick's primary draw is nigh unforgivable. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2019
91% How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) Writer-director Dean DeBlois caps his emotionally intelligent adaptation of the Vikings-and-dragons book series with an enjoyable, beautiful story of destiny and freedom. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2019
92% A Twelve-Year Night (La noche de 12 años) (2018) Sometimes a human simply withstands what it's subjected to, and that's enough to rivet us. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 27, 2018
74% All Is True (2019) Watching Branagh and McKellen in gently dueling versions of Sonnet 29 provides that pleasure; the rest of "All Is True," unfortunately, strains to honor its beloved subject. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2018
63% Tyrel (2018) "Tyrel" is a lab experiment with no insight into feelings of otherness beyond the blinding light directed at its wigged-out subject. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2018
No Score Yet DRUG$ (2018) A blistering takedown of a venal healthcare system that prizes corporate profit over saving lives. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
70% The Mule (2018) Another mostly solid notch in a career built on making many of life's notches feel like scars. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2018
85% Dumplin' (2018) "Dumplin' " is muddled uplift, but with some encouraging new wrinkles. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2018
90% Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes (2018) If you're looking for a quick medicinal shot of how we got to Trump in the White House, the bracing Divide and Conquer feels like one of the more alarming civics courses you'll ever take. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2018
73% The Party's Just Beginning (2018) The movie's sneaky theme is anonymity as our 21st century cure-all for the burden of knowing too much and yet wondering if we really know anyone at all. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2018
74% Back Roads (2018) "Back Roads" is that peculiar kind of disappointment: a wreck about wreckage. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2018
71% The Marriage (2017) This is a solid portrait of time's effect on what we miss, and how we miss. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 4, 2018
No Score Yet Martyr (2018) Boldly homoerotic in its water-and-body-conscious imagery, "Martyr" is more of a formal, physical performance about grief and loss than a deep-dive into the inner lives of its handful of stricken characters. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2018
100% Alanis (2017) Filmmaker Anahi Berneri... offers a no-apologies look at a member of a risk-taking underclass dinged on all sides. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 29, 2018
51% Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018) A welcome swerve from the Mouse House's fun-zone approach to these timeless stories. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 28, 2018
94% Of Fathers and Sons (2018) [Derki's poetic narration] serve to frame "Of Fathers and Sons" with the feeling that you're seeing a warped dream of family survival, one in which still-noticeable human bonds can't help but be corroded by isolating hatred and extremist ideology. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2018
93% The Cleaners (2018) The chilling, morally hyper-conscious film "The Cleaners"... introduces us to a handful of these hidden, meagerly paid office workers, cogs in a shadow business headquartered mainly in Manila in unassuming buildings. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2018
96% Becoming Astrid (Unga Astrid) (2018) Yet as "Becoming Astrid" wends its way, it's also sometimes a sly biopic dare. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2018
84% Creed II (2018) Jordan remains a model of dimensional ferocity, laced with the right vulnerability. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 16, 2018
No Score Yet Team Khan (2018) An exasperatingly slick documentary with a charismatic subject. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2018