Robert Abele

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

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
39% Seberg (2019) By the end, Stewart is enough of a force to give Seberg's darkest moments their due, but it's too little, too late for the superficial soup that is the movie that bears her name. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2019
99% Varda by Agnès (2019) "Varda by Agnès" may be a summing up from one end of a long, beautiful life in art. But it has the lightness, curiosity and spirit of a first film, and that tells us who Varda the artist was too: ever inspired, ever creating, ever eager to share. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2019
79% Downtown 81 (2001) Its bygone-ness still abuzz with creativity and movement, "Downtown 81" is a celluloid scrapbook that we can all be thankful for in helping capture the rumble before takeoff. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2019
100% After Parkland (2019) "After Parkland" is that gentle exchange of a movie - listening, being there - and sometimes that's all an aftermath doc can be and should be. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 1, 2019
96% Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project (2019) But more than its occasional resemblance to a very special episode of "Hoarders," Wolf's strange, sad and finally exhilarating portrait is one of radical consumerism turned into a searchable legacy - the viewer as activist. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 1, 2019
97% 63 Up (2019) A perfectly satisfying summing-up of what's proven to be the surest motive for any of its participants to keep filling us in on their personal lives - they did it because time, love, and just enough fortune allowed it. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 27, 2019
100% Mickey and the Bear (2019) The best thing one can say about Attanasio's approach to this material... is that she understands how complicated people's lives are when on the surface their issues might seem cut-and-dried. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2019
90% Hala (2019) Although its storytelling is at times naggingly staid, its central characterizations teem with complexity and sensitivity, and for that, it's a modest coming-of-age gem. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2019
75% Richard Jewell (2019) Outside of its major assets, which include Hauser's unapologetically showy performance as Jewell and Rockwell's sardonic turn as his underdog lawyer, there's a mystifying lack of clarity to the dramatic impact this retelling is seeking. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2019
21% The Warrior Queen of Jhansi (2019) Will you be eager to learn more about this fierce "Warrior Queen" afterward? Yes. Will it be because you sensed more there than was melodramatically delivered? Probably. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
79% Scandalous: The Untold Story of the National Enquirer (2019) As pop culture narratives go, "Scandalous" wants to be as colorful and fun as a flip through of the rag itself at the supermarket. But in these truth-challenged times, the jovial tone of "Scandalous" all too often outweighs the judgmental. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
81% The Hottest August (2019) But sometimes an experiment feels like just an experiment, and that's where the well-intentioned query "The Hottest August" ultimately lands. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
81% The Report (2019) For all the ways Burns has condensed a mountain of information into an efficient narrative, it's still essentially a timeline talkathon with only a passing resemblance to the tactile, human '70s political thrillers it aspires to resemble. - TheWrap EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 14, 2019
92% 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
90% 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
92% 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
95% 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
76% 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
75% 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
94% 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
98% 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
70% 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
91% 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
89% 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
79% 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
64% 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 (2020) 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
14% 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
74% The Plagiarists (2019) An adventurous comic thumping worth the working over of your sensibilities. - Los Angeles Times EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019