For 909 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 40% higher than the average critic
  • 6% same as the average critic
  • 54% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 9.3 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Robert Abele's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 54
Highest review score: 100 White God
Lowest review score: 0 Not Cool
Score distribution:
909 movie reviews
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    An admirably cagey effort to mine humor from the thorny cultural and racial divide that is Muslim-Jewish relations.
    • 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.
    • 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?
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    The rest is an adrenaline ride, but one more wearying than eye-opening.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Warriors is a bruising, relentless experience, one more tiring than inspiring.
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    The cumulative effect is more that of a handsomely crafted museum piece than a moving, emotional journey.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    For the most part "Matru" is neatly energetic, a mix of screwball whimsy and softball seriousness.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 56 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.
    • 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
    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
    At Troma, puke-green is the warmest color.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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."
    • 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.
    • 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
    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.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Queen & Country — though often charming — has a tendency to wander and strain.
    • 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Though the plot turns aren't necessarily surprising and characterizations a bit facile, Wladyka manages tense moments.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Gout undermines his own spiky, ambitious narrative with all the visual interference, as dazzling as it often is.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Once We Are Still Here unsticks itself from hommage mode, it finds something cathartically funny inside the fearsome.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    At times a beautiful wandering, at other times an admirable character study, but rarely a powerful whole.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Perhaps the best thing you can say about Kicks is that its strengths and weaknesses make for intriguing bedfellows, like a cautionary fable that’s as much about the hazards of forging an artistic authenticity as it is the pitfalls of a corrosive approach to manhood.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Though its focus is the two years the Sharps spent in Europe, it rushes through elements of their lives that would seem to warrant more examination
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    The color riot, the polyester/shag décor and the cartoon portrayals detract. Girl Asleep thinks it’s a stylishly resonant fairy tale about identity when the primary takeaway is an exquisitely curated slide show.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    There’s an appealingly sentimental destination in store for Ronnie and Myla’s parallel quests that keeps the movie from floating away entirely on its all-too-airy premise.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    There’s plenty of intelligence and atmosphere in play here.... But the prevailing tone is of pressure applied and nothing released, a genre exercise that plays as educational rather than exhilarating.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    It’s got some future-world smarts that sporadically elevate it above the junk that dominates this genre, and they help carry it through the routine spatter-and-gore moments and sci-fi clichés.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Wilson asks, can a male middle-aged crank get a sentimental education? If you even care whether that’s possible, Craig Johnson’s film adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ 2010 graphic novel offers a reasonably amusing case study in how that might transpire.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Ever-present is the mild dissonance of fiery pioneers of expression inspiring charmingly pretty if standard art house fare.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    While Hamm and Bateman have the right idea overall, their love of contrivance too often gives The Journey the sense of being reverse-engineered to explain a breakthrough rather than driven by the messy, human possibilities of their what-if.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Unfortunately, the director’s breezy approach doesn’t always make for a captivating viewing experience.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Occasionally, when you Death Wish upon a star and that star is Banderas, you get a serviceable time-waster like Acts of Vengeance.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Al Di Qua is both necessary and, in Franco’s more flamboyant touches, perhaps a bit thickly applied.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Though smoothly edited and breezily humane, 11/8/16 is still little more than a depiction of parallel roller coasters, one of which many voters felt was headed into a shop of horrors.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Probably no one movie could capture the scope of citizens forcing regime change in a dictatorial country, but the South Korean feature 1987: When the Day Comes valiantly tries in its own thriller-ish way.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    No easy path to forgiveness and communication, this one, but as a tour-de-force howl of primal, damaged rage, it contributes in its own strange way to the current era of public reckoning and testy healing.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    As hopelessly strained and unfunny as the fish-out-of-water material is in the guess-the-lines-predictable screenplay by Meg Leonard and Nick Moorcroft, the actors ultimately sell its sentiment, like expert landscapers who can make a homey garden using artificial turf.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    It's a prodigiously researched buzz saw of archival material, facts, feelings, testimonials, and nostalgia.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Dumont's imagination is fertile, but not exactly full when it runs close to two hours. What's always evident, however, is a punk-rock respect for Joan as a symbol of exuberant outrageousness.
    • 58 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Though Bidegain’s effort has its moments, it never gels into a cohesive, intimate-yet-expansive whole.
    • 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.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Its low-gear celebration of fandom-inspired ingenuity, and belief in the power of creating as a reparative balm, earns it enough well-deserved smiles when things fall predictably into place in the latter stages.
    • 35 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    As alternatingly silly and serious as its mix of wisdom and wallops, and even with that blond bro gumming up the works, “Birth” is nevertheless zippy, B-movie entertainment.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    It’s a quiet, eccentric comedy-drama about artistic inspiration that won’t knock your socks off, but it has its own awkward charms about how artists forge their identity while wrestling with professional boundaries.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Though it’s nothing new — one thinks of “The Shining,” “Parents,” and “Serial Mom” — it’s still disreputably fun to watch, like a viral video of a crazy person in public, or eavesdropping on a drunken spat in a restaurant, or that feeling when channel-flipping lands you on a familiar dumb movie right at your favorite moment.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 55 Robert Abele
    In the fraught relationship between controlling subject and probing filmmaker who start out as comrades in activism, the tension should be explored, not glided over. It leaves “Risk” feeling like the outline for a dozen different documentaries, instead of a complete one itself.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 55 Robert Abele
    No matter how much directors Eric Warin and Eric Summer (who wrote the story with Laurent Zeitoun) try to distract with dumb comedy — usually involving the annoying Victor — or cartoony action...the relationship between Félicie and Odette is a warm, heart-tugging one.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 55 Robert Abele
    There’s a choppiness in the overall dramatic pull that — despite the surface appeal of the stars and Kormákur’s and cinematographer Robert Richardson’s visuals — keeps Adrift from making true waves.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    A new biopic of eccentric British rock legend Ian Dury, Andy Serkis uncoils a performance of spit, grit and wit so ferocious it only serves to starkly clarify how unremarkable and formulaic the rest of the movie is.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    By the time the patented Shyamalan Extra-Strength Third Act Twist is revealed, being asked to care about fate, redemption and forgiveness when a satan-in-an-elevator gimmick hasn't delivered is like getting medicinal aftertaste from what should have been a box of delectably fiery Red Hots.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    It all leaves "Drewe" and its often jarring turns of motivation and tone - feeling haphazard and cartoony, and the whole thing more a vibrant mess than something comically disarming.
    • tbd Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    For the most part, this is the kind of immersive fanboy experience that doesn't suffer wandering attention spans.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    The regrettably titled From Prada to Nada has more in common with a slapped-together TV movie than a timeless comedy of manners.
    • 47 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Ultimately suffers from a late-inning collapse into thematic obviousness and multiple endings.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Hop
    Its CGI renderings are no better or worse than last month's or next month's animation family outing. Its vocal talent - led by Russell Brand and Hugh Laurie - is suitably star-powered. The only thing missing is any real wonder, imagination or comic verve.

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