Robert Abele

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

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
100% Dragon Inn (Long men ke zhen) (1966) Hu directs his fight sequences with a showman's flair but also a pickpocket's sleight of hand. He puts you inside the action. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 18, 2019
86% The Raft (2019) You wonder why The Raft hasn't been turned into a drama yet, since it's got everything: a high-concept premise, big ideas, conflict, base urges, twists, action, and a diverse cast in which looking good with little on is historically accurate. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2019
87% Plus One (2019) The movie's real showcase gold lies in the magnetic appeal of screwball comedy natural Erskine; she's a major talent who rightly runs away with the movie, conjuring in the viewer's head a constellation of wishful star turns to come. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2019
93% Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story By Martin Scorsese (2019) What's real and what isn't hardly matters, though, when the celebration is so inviting. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 12, 2019
100% The Wandering Soap Opera (La Telenovela Errante) (2019) Deadpan and over-the-top, these scenes make for a view of turbulent reality that is episodic and nonsensical - and wholly Ruizian. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 7, 2019
100% The Black Godfather (2019) Avant's skin color is one aspect of his inspiring story, for sure, but the heart inside "The Black Godfather" - and the ways an honorable soul with personal power can effect meaningful change - spins its own joyful melody. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2019
100% Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank (2019) As filmic visits with cherished masters go, Fox's has been well worth the wait. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2019
63% The Fall of the American Empire (La chute de l'empire américain) (2019) A commentary on avarice, inequality and charity sharing space with wry caper elements. The mix is for the most part a welcome one, save one unappealing character, a retrograde love story, and an air that's almost too blasé for its own good. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2019
100% The Proposal (2019) Jill Magid's "The Proposal," is an investigation and an exhibition, a love letter and a rival's riposte, a protest and an olive branch. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2019
75% Pasolini (2019) It may be only one man's version of what many have speculated about... but in its clear-eyed grittiness, it's also a tribute from a filmmaker for whom the night's temptations were ripe and its dangers legion. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2019
89% Joy (2018) Austrian-Iranian filmmaker Sudabeh Mortezai's "Joy" builds its reservoir of sadness with pulsing efficiency. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2019
97% Echo In the Canyon (2019) By keeping things short, sweet and dutifully tuneful, "Echo in the Canyon" is like the doc version of one of the period's sonic nuggets, leaving you with a peace/love/understanding high and a desire to break out the vinyl for more of the same. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2019
86% The Third Wife (2019) There is much that is finely wrought here as a tactile slice of women's history told in careful observances, hidden textures and the sights and sounds of nature unbound. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
57% 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
86% 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
61% 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
90% 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
55% 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
89% 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
64% 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
55% 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
95% 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
57% 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