For 595 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 41% higher than the average critic
  • 6% same as the average critic
  • 53% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 9.7 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Robert Abele's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 51
Highest review score: 100 Wetlands
Lowest review score: 0 Not Cool
Score distribution:
595 movie reviews
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    The mix of callous humor and romantic doom doesn't always hold up, but in its best moments, The Wannabe finds real spikiness in the pitfalls of anti-hero worship.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    There's good cause to shake the biopic form out of its exhaustively linear, birth-to-death rut, and Bertrand Bonello's Saint Laurent — starring Gaspard Ulliel as the storied French designer — valiantly tries.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Where the story falters, though, the performers admirably hold one's attention.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Delicacy isn't going to set anybody's psyche on fire with its insights into grieving and emotional recovery, but as a crepe-thin romantic snack, it has its moments.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Two-Bit Waltz is watchably imitative, arch nonsense. It has committed performances — including a deadpan turn on the edges by William H. Macy as the dad who's only seen reading books — and the occasional, provocatively funny line of dialogue.
    • 17 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    While there's regrettably nothing terribly witty or surprising about any of this as either love story or laugh machine, director Scott Marshall does manage a breezy, good-natured tone toward this oft-mocked cultural phenomenon that allows for eye-rolling and smiling in equal measure.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Though the film is well made, the all-aftermath approach to Meadowland leaves a lot — an establishing, enlightening character stability, for one thing — to be desired.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Annabelle works enough devil figurine juju to make for a modestly hair-raising prequel to the more satisfying scares of its predecessor, "The Conjuring."
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Though Bidegain’s effort has its moments, it never gels into a cohesive, intimate-yet-expansive whole.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    There's plenty of pacing verve in Costa-Gavras' technique, and the residue from that first thrilling peek inside the hermetic world of big-time money-moving never goes away. What's lacking is most surprising from this dissident filmmaker: the emotional outrage.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    As a harangue about cyberbullying, it's purely exploitative, but when Unfriended zeros in on the whiplash mixture of freedom and torment we get from multitasking our online lives? It's srsly fun, imo.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Early on, it's tempting to dismiss the noir pastiche The Girl From the Naked Eye as a warmed-over pulp wannabe, what with the overwrought camera work and clichéd dialogue. But in its moments of sometimes comically violent antagonism, the movie shows some flashes of genre pizazz.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Less a documentary than an acutely positioned marketing tool, Mindless Behavior: All Around the World delivers a chaotically high-energy burst of performance and behind-the-scenes footage for fans of the slickly produced hip-hop boy band.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    The scrappy superhero-noir indie Sparks busks its 1940s saga of dark redemption with considerable visual energy, if not always coherence or competence.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Escape Plan is mostly a gray, thudding metal machine of throwback exploitation, but the goateed, goofy Ah-nold is so happy to be in the thick of an old-school bruiser again that he makes it feel like the dumb-fun flashback party it is.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    "Next Chapter" may not exhibit the scrappy charm that characterized the first film's glimpse into a marginalized but colorful world, but for devotees, Dana Brown has assembled a love letter to a now-global culture.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    The mix of computer-generated imagery, hand-drawn simplicity in the humans and depth-conscious, textured backgrounds makes for a potent visual intelligence.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    If the material isn't always smooth or funny or well-thought-out, the tone and spirit are agreeably light, with a visual sophistication for a meager budget that's admirable.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Any caseworking suspense is drowned out by an over-abundance of visual pizazz: disjointed shootouts, arbitrary camera angles and cinematography that draws the eye to lighting patterns, not people.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    At times a beautiful wandering, at other times an admirable character study, but rarely a powerful whole.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Though plenty of road-tested war truths about sacrifice, honor, grit and intimacy get trotted out, "Stalingrad" is deep down a spectacle campaign forged in operatic violence and a siege of the senses, and on those terms it has its moments.
    • 30 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    When the movie isn't forcing its cuteness or R-rated humor, there's a frisson of genuine screwball to The Right Kind of Wrong.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Once We Are Still Here unsticks itself from hommage mode, it finds something cathartically funny inside the fearsome.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Flaked with offbeat witticisms, cheese ball effects and fanboy splatter gore, the surreal John Dies at the End has the vibe of a shaggy dog story, which works both for and against it.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Writer-director Xu Haofeng’s movie doesn’t feel like many other movies of its ilk. That’s mostly a good thing, even if the movie can’t quite fit all its eccentric pieces into a satisfying whole.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Sjöberg is so enamored with the dancing and overall positivity that moves and platitudes fairly dominate, when the movie could have used more narrative cohesion and engagement with his subjects.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Despite the pedestrian screenplay (by Jimenez and Audrey Diwan), Dujardin and Lellouche are magnetic performers who slip easily into their antagonistic roles.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Warriors is a bruising, relentless experience, one more tiring than inspiring.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    The movie elicits knowing smiles more than laughs, even as it reveals a boundless observational awareness about the beefs and slights that, for the small-minded, must feel like everyday Armageddons.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Gout undermines his own spiky, ambitious narrative with all the visual interference, as dazzling as it often is.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    At Troma, puke-green is the warmest color.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    One's diminishing interest in the nuts and bolts of cheating a cheat can be forgiven when the sheer star wattage of the peppy cast is in close-up overdrive.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    It isn’t terribly exciting as a movie — director/co-writer Steven Chester Prince mistakes drab pacing as a stylistic match for the laconic charm of his lead actor — but the serious-minded humor has a probing sincerity that carries you along.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    With actors this good, however, there's rarely a pinched expression, heartfelt speech or laugh line that isn't at least partly sold, even if the stunted-male psychologizing at the expense of the under-written women grows tiresome.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    The character mechanics... leave the viewer always feeling a step ahead of the story and its too-late-to-excite twists. As a portrait of violence-riven motherhood, however, Riseborough gives Shadow Dancer most of its grave power.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Culkin's performance is never exploitative. His eyes often say everything, appearing simultaneously laser-focused and distant — he can't reconcile his brain with the world.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    "How to Let Go” says all the right things about an unnerving peril, and the various ways some highly motivated people are trying to combat it.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    That the film occasionally succumbs to certain rudimentary hallmarks of industrial studio horror is regrettable, but for the most part it’s agreeably suspenseful, date-night arm-squeezing genre fare.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    The more generalized confessionals on friendship and love are a lot simpler to grasp. But the real star is the riot collage of twisty, breakneck visuals underscoring these conversations and battles.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Kai Po Che packs a lot into its two hours, with not a lot of subtlety -- and in some cases, bracing grimness. But its performances are enjoyably boisterous, and director Abhishek Kapoor refuses to linger on clichés for too long...before hurling his trio into their next complication or moment of triumph.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    For the most part "Matru" is neatly energetic, a mix of screwball whimsy and softball seriousness.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Though the plot turns aren't necessarily surprising and characterizations a bit facile, Wladyka manages tense moments.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    For such a hippie-ish wingding originally designed to discourage the buying and selling of anything, "Spark" has decidedly bought into its subject and has no qualms hawking it to moviegoers.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    The rest is an adrenaline ride, but one more wearying than eye-opening.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    We Came Home has its amateurish side, but it's effortlessly affecting when showing how music acts as an extended hand across generations and cultures.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Champs is all over the place and at times too polished for its own good — too many celebrity fan testimonials when more insider insights would have helped. But it comes from a place of caring for an oft-maligned sport.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Queen & Country — though often charming — has a tendency to wander and strain.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    The quietly commanding turn by newcomer Santana - whose outward embrace of an already well-internalized transformation leaps off the screen with equal parts joy, melancholia and bravery - is a standout.
    • 29 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Ultimately, "2" is hit-and-run humor as hit or miss as any comedy of its ilk. If one has to sit in front of a jet spray of degradation gags, better it feel like the occasional seltzer spritz than a fire hose blast to the crotch.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    I Am Ali may never truly wow as the umpteenth portrait of a living legend, but it has its charms in reminding us of one fighter's singular ability to knock us all out with his talent, personality and convictions.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    At its most effective, though, The Decent One reveals a psychological portrait of a man devoted to his family yet consumed by a soul-blackening and horrifically destructive cause.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    The cumulative effect is more that of a handsomely crafted museum piece than a moving, emotional journey.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    All that matters with efforts like this is whether the cookie-cutter plotting serves up enough situations for Atkinson to contort himself into and out of jams. After all, are the narratives what you remember from the "Pink Panther" movies? Or the silly things, like that Clouseau could so easily get his finger caught in a spinning globe?
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Byrne does a fine job fragmenting William's innocent, scary and guilt-ridden sides, and Amy Seimetz makes his wife a compelling, grief-stricken figure. But The Reconstruction of William Zero has its own identity problem, essentially, being a solid sci-fi story with a welcome emotional component, yet never fully effective at either.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Flawed yet intimate, Diana respects its subject's hopes, strengths, weaknesses and legacy and, in the extraordinary Watts, boasts a formidably empathetic advocate.
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Hsia has an appealingly slick visual style for the fast-paced if predictable turns in Sam's story, shooting the gleaming, bustling Shanghai as if it had finally earned its big-Hollywood-romantic-comedy stripes as a setting for the usual fish-out-of-water jokes, broad humor, meet-cutes, silly coincidences and happy endings.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Whether meeting a malevolent spirit wearing expensive sunglasses, seductively controlling her (Bazu) prey, or bringing her scheme to an operatically violent close, she gives"Raaz 3" its defiantly retro flamboyance.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Writer-director Eran Creevy shows himself to be well versed in the mythic sweep of Christopher Nolan's and Michael Mann's crime sagas, if not their intelligence with storytelling.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    An admirably cagey effort to mine humor from the thorny cultural and racial divide that is Muslim-Jewish relations.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    At first American Animal has a mysterious unreality to it, a strange diorama about easy leisure's emptiness. But when James admits he's taken a job - upending the roomies' slacker utopia - American Animal becomes a philosophically strident evening of speechifying local theater (topic: human evolution).
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    For all the genuine charm on display, you may be disappointed to find that manic activity overtakes said charm, and that more isn’t made of a simple, clever premise.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    As predictable as these stories invariably are, Lee's wonderful turn reignites the potent fantasy of peasant wisdom - if given the power - melting politically cynical hearts and legislating through decency rather than fear.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    The actors give it punch, but in the grand scheme of caper comedies, The Art of the Steal is more breathlessly imitative than authentic.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    There's no denying Watts' skill at a certain kind of desolate cat and mouse, but it's in the service of what is ultimately a somewhat heartless exercise.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Kinkle's debut refreshingly sacrifices gore showpieces (though it is bloody at times) for a steadily increasing dread tied to a young woman's desperation.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Even when bits go thud, there's a brittle, unsentimental wit about kin's inexplicable tug that's hard to ignore, and the leads — game for some surprisingly sublime bits of physical comedy — eventually wear one's anti-charm defenses down.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 55 Robert Abele
    Filmed in five long 35mm takes, this murder mystery features a fair amount of cinematic virtuosity, but it’s too self-conscious and uneven to be entirely successful.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 55 Robert Abele
    That you may learn a good deal about an unusually driven man, but never quite feel emotionally connected to him, means Ross has hit a workmanlike middle, crafting a handsome textbook more than a blood-pumping portrait.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    A feature-length lampoon needs more than rubbery performances, so-so silliness and the constant thrum of meta humor to make it a consistently amusing variation on a theme.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    LUV
    What begins as a promising peek into the tragic cycle of waylaid promise that's crippling broken inner-city families is itself dispiritingly pulled sideways in the Baltimore-set indie LUV.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    The polished assuredness under which Refn operates is considerable, and even appealing, and yet there’s always one element in any given scene — a music cue, a banal sound choice, a shot held until it screams “look at me” — that breaks the mood.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    If only the falling-in-love machinations and character details weren't so wispy, Tonight You're Mine might have had more resonance. That said, the film has its moments.
    • 40 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    While writer-director Andrew Renzi’s feature narrative debut is problematic whenever Gere isn’t onscreen (and even sometimes when he is), the veteran star exudes a damaged magnetism reminiscent of the character studies that thrilled discerning moviegoers in the ’70s.
    • 25 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    This meandering lark about a corrupt, spiteful and hopelessly distracted police force in a decriminalized, sun-scorched city never quite finds the funny bone.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Unless you're on this spiritually noodling movie's wavelength — an easier proposition when the great McKee is singing (she wrote the music with Akin) — this is narratively thin, tone-poem stuff
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    It's just all too breezy to have any real effect.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    When Love works, Noé achieves a lulling, melancholic frenzy about sex and memory, but the foundation isn't strong enough to make his movie ever seem more than a stereoscopic fermata: one envelope-pushing note held way too long.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    The Hawkins brothers have an envelopingly moody visual style that strives for offbeat touches, at times easily conjuring the existential threat in desolate areas. But that can't make up for the story deficiencies and character superficiality in the script.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Bogliano — who hit it big in indie horror with "Penumbra" and "Room for Tourists" — is a mood man, adept at unease and admirably judicious about shock moments, if not exactly skilled with storytelling or pacing.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    What aims for Hitchcockian slyness ends up an inconsequential jumble in the comedy thriller The Perfect Host.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    For the show's rabid viewership, these testimonials are probably integral to a celebratory experience like the "Glee" live show. To everyone else, it's all gonna be Gleek to you.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Director and co-writer Thomas Lilti's mistake, though, is thinking the bland Benjamin's coming of age concerns are worth so much screen time. The sturdier character study in Hippocrates is of soulful, beleaguered Algerian-born Abdel (Reda Kateb).
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    As a showcase for accomplished performers tugging heart strings in a holiday awards season, it's perfectly serviceable.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    It all remains remarkably free of memorable comic situations, dramatic tension or emotional insight. Adolescence may be bruising, crazy or normal, but it's rarely this staid.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    As a flashy, country-hopping ridealong with a style icon, it will appeal to fashionistas, but you won't learn much about the high-end world of clothing design beyond its ability to stretch someone's schedule to the breaking point, and land that someone a gig outfitting Jamie Foxx and Will Smith.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    There are occasionally interesting peeks into the hard work of keeping a flame alive that burned briefly 30 years ago. But mostly this is a video tour book for fans, no more, no less.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    The unintended take-away is that you can grasp why the Securities and Exchange Commission - terribly negligent though it was in investigating Madoff - might dismiss the claims of someone so theatrically odd.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    One just wishes the scaffolding of indie tropes around Paul and the better parts of Hellion weren't so shaky.
    • 38 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    As violent act begets silly exchange begets another violent act, Sweetwater squanders its noteworthy resources — a cast enjoying themselves (especially Isaacs and Harris), and some effectively brooding outdoor cinematography.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    It's not unfunny in spots, but it huffs and puffs (among other bodily functions) more often than it splits the sides.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Take Me to the River is at its most interesting when zeroing in on the back-and-forth between musicians of different eras who rely on unique jam-session skills.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Unfortunately this "Story" never finds its footing as either a creepy morality play or a performance-driven two-hander.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Labyrinth of Lies too often feels like machine-stamped issue cinema from a moldy Hollywood playbook.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Until its characters behave illogically in the third act and the direction shows suspense fatigue, Preservation displays a flinty resolve to be better than your average woodsy-nightmare thriller.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Even with a gripping subject like blues-singing convicts, the documentary Music from the Big House has a disconcerting emotional distance.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Tonally, the film is a mess, unable to decide if it's a damning downer or...the inspiring story of conquering injustice.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    It’s the movie equivalent of a multi-course banquet of colorful foams: wisps of flavor emerge here and there, and admiration reigns, but in the end you’re unlikely to believe you’ve actually had a meal.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Though there's no shortage of mustache-quivering energy and wide-collared strutting, Angel of Evil can't separate itself enough from the pack as a character piece to be memorable as anything other than a blood-spattered timeline.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    With Cooties, what starts as recess fades all too rapidly into movie detention.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    For reminding us all that Cage has a peculiarly gifted way with erratic types, The Trust has merit, but the rest of it strains to hold one’s interest.

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