Robert Abele

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

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
90% Dark Waters (2019) As a portrait of solitary dedication against impossible odds, it's of a piece with Haynes's female-centered stories of upstream defiance Safe and Far From Heaven as much as a Spotlight or All the President's Men. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2019
89% Burning Cane (2019) Even when the images edge toward the self-consciously authorial... there's always something to latch onto... "Burning Cane" also gets us excited about what else Youmans can do. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
86% Klaus (2019) [A] serviceably sprightly mix of attitude and altruism that purports to explain how children every Christmas came to eagerly await the wrapped bounty from a kind, portly figure in a red suit. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
67% Krampus (2015) The legend of the Krampus, often referred to as the shadow of St. Nicholas, is a fertile one indeed, but this "Krampus" - a missed opportunity for anti-saccharine counter programming - isn't likely to create many new believers. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2019
100% The Apollo (2019) [E]ssential history and quintessential performance expertly woven together to remind us what lasting, vibrant artistry and community looks like. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
94% Queen of Hearts (2019) The tricky brilliance of "Queen of Hearts" is in how el-Toukhy uses a well-worn narrative - the unsuspecting, hidden passion with the appearance of erotic freedom - to unveil what in reality is a poisonous tale of abuse. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
77% Doctor Sleep (2019) A flat Frankenstein of a fright flick that stops and starts with frustrating regularity as it tries to memorialize the horror maestro's newer story elements while tipping a filmic hat to what the late cinema god etched into our brains. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 30, 2019
100% Fantastic Fungi (2019) [I]t edges a little too close to being a commercial, but that's a nitpick when the totality of "Fantastic Fungi" is so entertaining, informative and appealingly hopeful about the hard-working cure-all for our ailing world lying beneath our feet. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
67% The Cat and the Moon (2019) The good news is that Wolff isn't punching above his weight as a nascent multi-hyphenate, having assembled a generally sensitive if sometimes meandering tale without too many moving parts. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
100% The Bronx, USA (2019) As metaphors for America go, it might just put a hopeful smile on your face after another stomach-churning political news day. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
93% Western Stars (2019) Now he's taken the reins as a movie director for a visual companion to his recently released, same-named album... that in its intimacy and honesty plays as if this is the way these songs were always meant to be enjoyed. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
100% The Load (Teret) (2019) We not only feel the stifling turmoil of [Vlada's] conscience-stricken sense of survival but also the chilly outlook on an ashy-gray landscape from which one might think only of escape and eventually the roiling ill at a literal and figurative burden. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2019
100% Emanuel (2019) "Emanuel" achieves a rich solemnity in honoring lives ripped away too soon and often quickly forgotten by a public all too often redirected by the news cycle toward another mass shooting. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2019
100% Chained for Life (2019) Anchored by Weixler's and Pearson's natural charm, "Chained for Life" stands up as both a quiet ode to the experimental, dreamlike spirit of moviemaking and a seriocomic corrective to sentimentalized sideshow portrayals. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2019
97% The Cave (2019) Mixes the intensity of emergency work with the occasional quiet of exhausted heroes fighting back dejection. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2019
67% The Cotton Club Encore (2019) In the end, there's a point about black struggle alongside white dominance in "The Cotton Club Encore" that Coppola can't get quite right because, ultimately, atmosphere won out over emotion. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2019
No Score Yet Albanian Gangster (2019) [T]hat raw looseness is too often just sloppy filmmaking, and the gangster clichés ultimately win out over even Rezaj's roiling, ripped-from-the-streets vitality. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2019
90% El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019) Ultimately serves as a coiled and heartfelt tribute to Jesse's powerful trajectory, and Paul's own chemically active, emotionally reactive brilliance in one of our peak TV era's defining series. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2019
97% Dolemite Is My Name (2019) In the great whoosh of majestically profane, beaming energy he provides from beginning to end, it's clear that Murphy's brand of electrifying, in-the-moment comedy has sorely been missed. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
61% Dilili in Paris (Dilili à Paris) (2019) "Dilili in Paris" is instead an awkward misfire, the more regrettably so for showcasing a kind, smart and brave mixed-race girl from New Caledonia as its young protagonist. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
88% Genesis (Genèse) (2019) "Genèse" concludes as a sober reminder that the young always feel intensely, but that the years between the crush that shines and the ardor that confounds are short ones, indeed. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2019
75% The Death of Dick Long (2019) Indie moviegoers looking for an off-road excursion likely to trigger more than a few exhortations of "oh no" - as both laughs and gasps - could turn this Death into something with cult life. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
78% Loro (2019) This sometimes beguiling but more often strangely engineered movie continues, stretching its increasingly muddy soup of gleaming nastiness and gaudy power plays until even the central portrait of the man himself is more cartoonish than corrosive. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
90% ANTHROPOCENE: The Human Epoch (2019) It's strongest, however, as a dizzying, dimensional tour of scale and time, forcing us to wonder how a sense of earth-centric balance can be restored. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
65% The Day Shall Come (2019) It brilliantly is funny, producing plenty of acrid, world-upside-down laughter about the ridiculous truth behind some serious modern delusions about whom we should be scared of. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 26, 2019
88% Diego Maradona (2019) Though a tad overlong at two-hours-plus - even as it condenses its framing to the footballer's 1980s stint in Naples, Italy - Kapadia's handling of Maradona's eventful rise and ignominious decline is a bracing, well-controlled run across a rocky pitch. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
No Score Yet Buzz (2019) But there's a sour narcissism to this white, successful, talented man that smacks of a bid for hot-topic relevance rather than a model for how the unseen and uncertain can find peace and acceptance. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
27% Rambo: Last Blood (2019) The booby-trapping is so over-the-top gory, it's as if Rambo has morphed into Jigsaw. (I smell Lionsgate crossover?) - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 19, 2019
88% Another Day of Life (2019) "Another Day of Life" [is] not just another war-is-hell story, but a powerfully thorny war-journalism-is-hell tale too. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
63% The Sound of Silence (2019) Sarsgaard finds an almost sensual serenity in the everyday gravity of his assuredness, even as the film gingerly weaves both a pensive quality and a deadpan wit. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
100% Fagara (Huajiao zhiwei) (2019) [A] sincere, sensitive entry in that niche genre of family drama scenarios involving culinary legacy. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
88% The Painted Bird (2019) It's always starkly compelling as a reminder of why war survival stories are essential to our understanding of innocence and beastliness. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 7, 2019
43% Hope Gap (2019) A late-middle-aged divorce saga so dead-set on scrubbing any notion of emotional villainy that it's as thin as a postcard with a view of that presentably beautiful, chalky seaside. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 6, 2019
63% Edie (2019) Something tells me a documentary on Hancock simply navigating the rigors of "Edie," as well as acting it to the fullest, might have been more readily inspiring. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
86% Ms. Purple (2019) Even with an ostensibly more delicate scenario than a community literally ablaze, Chon's eagerness to treat emotions like ready-made fires gets in the way of the intended weight and textured beauty of his drama. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 4, 2019
15% Night Hunter (Nomis) (2019) Jittery and nonsensical, it juggles its influences - "The Silence of the Lambs," "Seven," television procedurals - with oily hands and a distracted focus. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
72% The Plagiarists (2019) An adventurous comic thumping worth the working over of your sensibilities. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
100% Olivia (The Pit of Loneliness) (2019) It brings to rich emotional life the swirl of influence and passion inside an all-girls boarding school buzzing with sentimental education around its grand central staircase. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
82% Official Secrets (2019) But where Hood's All the President's Men ambitions feel forced -- there's even a shadowy meet-up in a parking garage -- the second-half machinations pertaining to Gun's legal peril and eventual defense are duly fascinating. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 27, 2019
17% The Fanatic (2019) A brainless, exploitative folly which gives John Travolta free rein to mine the history of cringe-worthy autism portrayals for an offensively garish Frankenstein pantomime of unhinged obsession. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 26, 2019
100% Vision Portraits (2019) Evans has made a touchingly honest ode to the inner life of all artists. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 20, 2019
100% Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles (Buñuel en el laberinto de las tortugas) (2019) At its most absorbing, "Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles" makes it clear there are no easy answers, perhaps especially when the art itself isn't easy. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
43% After the Wedding (2019) Writer-director Bart Freundlich's American remake of Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier's Oscar-nominated 2006 family drama is curiously bloodless, despite the enticing tweak of gender-reversing the primary roles. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
78% Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) If you're not in the mood for messages or social commentary, however, "Scary Stories" is still fertile enough with its accessible gross-outs and giggle shocks to serviceably add to a legacy of kid-centric mainstream mayhem Del Toro clearly loves. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
22% The Kitchen (2019) Little more than another tone-challenged stumble through mob clichés as prevalent as the trash, graffiti and flared threads dominating the period design. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 7, 2019
44% The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019) This sentimental slog about the relationship between a golden retriever and the growing family of a race car driver is, under director Simon Curtis' no-nonsense stewardship, about as box-checked and rubber-stamped as mainstream entertainment gets. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 6, 2019
80% A Faithful Man (L'homme fidèle) (2019) A tart, seriocomic morsel of desire and doubt, Louis Garrel's "A Faithful Man" is the French actor-filmmaker's second examination of triangulated romance after his debut feature as a director, "Two Friends." - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2019
94% The Ground Beneath My Feet (Der Boden unter den Füssen) (2019) It's as 21st century as portrayals get, and it's a knockout. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2019
89% Cassandro the Exotico! (2019) "Cassandro," which recalls the grabbed verve of a '60s-era verité snapshot, charts the reluctant dimming of this extravagant icon with affectionate energy and lasting poignance. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2019
78% Skin (2019) The short was crassly played vengeance, and regrettably the feature - though boasting a stellar cast - similarly stumbles in its favoring of shallow intensity over psychological depth or coherence. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 25, 2019