For 594 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 White God
Lowest review score: 0 Code of Honor
Score distribution:
594 movie reviews
    • 72 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    Dope is, in the end, just another unfunny grab bag of stereotypes. Don't believe the hype.
    • 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.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    Despite the good intentions, structurally it's all over the place with an excess of montages, archival footage, interviews and information practically drowning out any chance to appreciate the richness of the German composer's beloved achievement.
    • 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.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    The cumulative effect is more that of a handsomely crafted museum piece than a moving, emotional journey.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    The rest is an adrenaline ride, but one more wearying than eye-opening.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Queen & Country — though often charming — has a tendency to wander and strain.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Ascher is too content to let repetition of experience take over his film.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    At times a beautiful wandering, at other times an admirable character study, but rarely a powerful whole.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Magician may not be its own rich experience, but like Workman's many breathlessly compiled odes to the history of movies, it'll certainly spur a meaty living room film festival.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    At a certain point, though, the movie runs out of eccentricity capital and becomes just another contest documentary about determined participants — in this case, mostly obsessive young white men — and the well-worn narrative of defeat or accomplishment.
    • 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.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Though Bidegain’s effort has its moments, it never gels into a cohesive, intimate-yet-expansive whole.
    • 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.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Even with three charismatic leads, the talky, convoluted nature of the cat-and-mouse between Zhang and Huang and their respective gangs is impossible to follow or care about, and the mix of identity comedy, cartoonish violence, philosophizing and grief over killed loved ones is hardly smooth.
    • 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.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    The provocative noir experience that Talaash promises, with its jazzily scored, moodily lighted opening montage of a Mumbai red-light district at night, is nowhere to be found once this meandering mystery begins.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Though the plot turns aren't necessarily surprising and characterizations a bit facile, Wladyka manages tense moments.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Once We Are Still Here unsticks itself from hommage mode, it finds something cathartically funny inside the fearsome.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    Goon feels like a movie starring a gimmick, not a person.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Although Whiteley's unrestricted there-ness effortlessly yields an avuncular striver... it means little when the viewpoint is so hermetic.
    • 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.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Light, frenetic and anecdote-rich, it's the kind of back-patting Hollywood toast to the guy behind the guy that's breezy good fun if you don't examine it too hard.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    An attempt to counter noisy, hyper effects-laden alien invasion flicks with something teasing, indie and good for you. Instead, it's like a pendulum swing too far in the other direction.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Flowers is too exquisitely formalist — symmetric framings followed by willfully asymmetric shots — to ever feel flushed with real feeling.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Even with all the design-rich invention and admirably committed weirdness on display in “Swiss Army Man,” we’re still in the land of immature males, poor-me feelings and superpowers. While the movie focuses on one end of the body, you might be left sighing from the other.
    • 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.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Though the thin mystery at the center becomes a narrative albatross, and Lillard and Gugino seem hamstrung by the schematic nature of their characters, Stewart's melancholic electricity manages to maintain its appeal.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Labyrinth of Lies too often feels like machine-stamped issue cinema from a moldy Hollywood playbook.
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Warriors is a bruising, relentless experience, one more tiring than inspiring.
    • 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.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    With little room to feel for or even understand Anna Maria, Paradise: Faith rarely seems more than high art with low intentions.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    It suffers from a marked lack of narrative energy and a regrettable surfeit of clichéd characterization.
    • 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.
    • 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).
    • 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.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    Elvis & Nixon meanders its way into the big encounter with a tone too wacky and cutesy to whet our appetite for strangeness.
    • 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.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    The big question here is why any of The Voices, as crisply made and stylish as it is, should matter or entertain. The cold truth is that it doesn't.
    • 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.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Gout undermines his own spiky, ambitious narrative with all the visual interference, as dazzling as it often is.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    For a movie about moonshine, something so imaginatively made, mood-altering and once violently sought-after, it goes down way too blandly.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    Perhaps fearful of venturing into downer territory, I Am Chris Farley sticks to slickly edited, bite-sized anecdotes about an attention-starved Midwestern goofball unprepared for stardom, accompanied by storybook music that accentuates Farley's childlike nature over his darker impulses.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    An admirably cagey effort to mine humor from the thorny cultural and racial divide that is Muslim-Jewish relations.
    • 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.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    With many languid scenes and little narrative momentum, Algrant may have been aiming for a more ethereal father-son heartbreaker. But all that comes across is twee hipster romanticism.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    Unfinished Song is a movie so geared toward hitting its spots, it amounts to emotional Muzak rather than something truly played live.
    • 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.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    A flavorless feast, with the movie's few mystical leaps clunkily handled.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    With the patiently assembled '90s films "Ruby in Paradise" and "Ulee's Gold," director Victor Nuñez gave independent film a quiet luster of hand-craftsmanship sorely lacking in his dreary new effort, Spoken Word.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    The best you can say about the over-the-top Filth is that it's a brisk wallow, with enough elbow room to marvel at McAvoy's sinkhole aria of a performance.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    If The Man Who Knew Infinity had been more concerned with the soul of a raw talent instead of the learn-and-earn ethos of so much accomplishment cinema, it might have produced something soulful rather than something institutional.
    • 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.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    The overall sense is of a rushed, simplistic installment in a well-worn biography franchise.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    A bewilderingly facile and preposterously plotted misfire that offers few pleasures as either a star-driven thriller or a big-screen indictment of the forces that devastated global bank accounts.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    Had V/H/S been a nasty jolt of three, it might have been memorable, but at nearly two hours, the gimmick punctures a hole in itself, causing ambience bleed-out. Recommended cure: a tripod
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 60 Robert Abele
    Where the story falters, though, the performers admirably hold one's attention.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    The overall effect here is of parallel biographies juiced to feel important whenever they intersect, and an undercooked paean to lost masculinity.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    Busy, but not exactly invigorating.
    • 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.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Fans, go be with your people. Others, approach cautiously.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    The whole effort is undermined by an abundance of mob-movie cliches.
    • 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.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    As a showcase for accomplished performers tugging heart strings in a holiday awards season, it's perfectly serviceable.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    You might not "like" Perry's movie, but it's hard to deny the forensically assured sensibility at work.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Passion will only rekindle your love affair with De Palma to the extent that his luridly artisan chiller classics are readily available afterward for another viewing.
    • 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.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    It's terribly long and repetitive for so delicately dreamy a diptych, and at times the modern-day story feels like little more than a drawn-out apologia for the wandering male gaze.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Had the movie itself been more focused as a story of messy loss — and not played tonal Twister with its high concept — it might have better served its freshly oddball lead.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    The hour of mike time isn't as strong as such previous dispatches as "Seriously…Funny."
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Citizen Koch is pure advocacy doc: brisk and clear-eyed, to be sure, but not likely to surprise headline-savvy moviegoers or angered progressives.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    DamNation is certainly a picturesque splash of doc advocacy, as long as you don't dwell on the cracks.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    While this return to indie roots frees up Lee's often gifted image making, his usual pace issues and penchant for jagged flourish over sustained feeling keep it from achieving a rich, strange, sexy and sad whole.
    • 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).
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    The frustrating thing about the British heist flick Wasteland is how it creates two admirably entertaining storytelling strands — one a friendship saga, the other a robbery caper — yet can't merge the two successfully.
    • 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.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    Brotherhood isn't badly acted or without some skillfully tense moments, but it doesn't have much in the way of entertainment value either.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    There's a great story at the heart of Matej Minac's documentary Nicky's Family, if only it were allowed to be told unvarnished.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Often more distracting than diverting with its everything-goes aesthetic - there are strains of steampunk, manga and silent film comedy, with video-game touches.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Janie Jones is ultimately its own uneven tune, a mixture of discordant notes and way-too-familiar chords.
    • 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.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    There's little that feels fresh, freaky or funny about one more batch of eccentric reactions to hungry corpses, one more attempt to creatively splatter, one more metaphor for zombie invasion.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    It's a strong story of lonely, even futile righteousness, which makes the plodding execution by director Arnaud des Pallierès somewhat mystifying.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    In one punchy way it's feverishly, genre-shakingly different. That difference makes the movie almost work. Almost.

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