For 429 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 43% higher than the average critic
  • 7% same as the average critic
  • 50% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 10.2 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Robert Abele's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 49
Highest review score: 100 Wetlands
Lowest review score: 0 I Melt with You
Score distribution:
429 movie reviews
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    The brusque teen humor, underpinning turmoil and sentiment all seem to be pulled and massaged from the same organic whole, and that's refreshing in a genre so often built on gimmicks and stereotypes.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Not all the right notes are hit in Grand Piano, but for an elegantly schizoid B movie, it's more B-sharp than B-flat.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Enemy may be built more on questions than answers, but in the probing it generates a satisfyingly arch hum of weirdness.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 90 Robert Abele
    Less concerned with fake shocks and show-me violence than the grimly calibrated rotting of personalities, Oculus is one of the more intelligently nasty horror films in recent memory.
    • 61 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Director Wendy J.N. Lee, who made the grueling trek with a solar-powered camera operated by a monk, provides plenty of breathtaking footage and a strong sense of both the journey's illuminative highs and treacherous (as in altitude and terrain) lows.
    • 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
    • 70 Robert Abele
    By the end, Fightville feels authentic about this world, where success may be measured in wins, but the balance of unrelenting brutality and self-discipline needed for those wins is a trickier equation.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 30 Robert Abele
    For Sedaris fans, C.O.G. is a regrettably patronizing washout.
    • 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.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    In key spots, thanks to Simmons' brilliantly wounded gruffness and Pucci's nimble toggling act between vacancy and awakened spirit, The Music Never Stopped achieves an admirable poignancy about our emotional, healing relationship to the songs we love.
    • 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
    • 80 Robert Abele
    Visual sumptuousness trumps the coldly erotic dastardliness of previous incarnations, but where this version feasts is on close-ups, with exchanges between pairs of eyes - the predatory versus the hesitant, the manipulatively comforting opposite the blindly vulnerable - that recall the silent era.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    As bad-taste splatter comedies go, "Dead Snow 2" is one of the more charitably nutty ones, less about gorging on gore than reveling in how silly the whole genre can be.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    There's storytelling vigor here and fine performances, plus some pointed exchanges about the burdens of cultural identity and emotional preservation in the aftermath of immense upheaval.
    • 59 Metascore
    • 80 Robert Abele
    If you meet the fiendishly deadpan Rubber halfway, its assured mix of cinephile artiness and grindhouse spoof will offer some oddball surprises.
    • 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
    • 80 Robert Abele
    For moviegoers who prefer cheeky wit, down-and-dirty mayhem and grown-up suspense in their air-conditioned escapism, The Prey deserves to light up the summer art house.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • 70 Robert Abele
    In the end, despite the clunky mix of narrative formats, My Father and the Man in Black makes for an illuminating alternate history of sorts to the Hollywoodized version of Cash's ascendancy in "Walk the Line."
    • 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
    • 70 Robert Abele
    The cheeky title How to Live Forever belongs to a wry, hopeful yet enigma-appreciating documentary about the perils and possibilities that come with growing old.
    • 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
    • 70 Robert Abele
    A chunky spectacle, to be sure – overstuffed with plot and characters - but at times, it's an insanely entertaining one.
    • 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
    • 70 Robert Abele
    There's goodwill to go around in Dabis' modestly engaging yarn, from its appealing performances to the times it zeroes in on the ways culture, tradition and individuality cause headaches and heartaches as much as comfort.
    • 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
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Downloaded is still a vigorous retelling of Fanning's and Parker's wildfire achievement and its ethical pitfalls, even if there's little in the way of journalistic balance.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    The movie is itself rough around the edges, notably in some chintzy attempts at animating pulp graphics. But it's briskly pieced together from interviews and archival footage.
    • 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
    • 30 Robert Abele
    If La Bare had snarky voice-over narration, it could be a segment on "The Colbert Report."
    • 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
    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
    • 70 Robert Abele
    There's nothing terribly original about Safe, but it's a suitably grimy playground for action cinema's reigning pit bull.
    • 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
    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
    • 70 Robert Abele
    The Roache-Turners prove to have the right mix of micro-budget filmmaking ingenuity, action sass and undead splatter to make "Wyrmwood" a tastier than usual exploitation nosh.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    The picture benefits from its performances, notably Evans' roguish appeal as a guy simultaneously driven and destructive.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    Busy, but not exactly invigorating.
    • 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
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Fans, go be with your people. Others, approach cautiously.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Although the sentiment threatens to flatten out an intriguingly nervy vibe, Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best has plenty of rhythmic charm about its responsibility-challenged strivers.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Despite an awkwardly jokey title, Now, Forager has charm, intelligence and a cool passion for its principled characters - an appealing off-menu slice for hungry indie admirers.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    More of the same, for all the good and acceptably routine that that implies.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Eubank's fizzy mix of self-conscious, set-piece image-making and small-scale human detail is admirable.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    The whole effort is undermined by an abundance of mob-movie cliches.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 30 Robert Abele
    For all the ways Dickerson vigorously dramatizes the stages of solitary confinement — nervous humor, fear, rages, survival ingenuity (including a nifty breathing apparatus) — it's never enough to explain why this particular individual's story is worth telling.
    • 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
    • 70 Robert Abele
    The brutally efficient shooting style Reeves employs to film master choreographer Yuen Woo Ping's breathtaking fights...is refreshingly grounded and old-school kinetic.
    • 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
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Even with a cut-and-dried approach to characterization and the issue of man-made consciousness, The Machine percolates with an elegantly palpable sense of wonder and danger.
    • 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
    • 70 Robert Abele
    A movie you keep expecting to fizzle because of its punching-the-air gracelessness, but there's something weirdly effective about the artistic desperation, which includes inserts of chalkboard animation and to-the-camera testimonials.
    • 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
    • 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
    Arie Posin regrettably sticks to the tastefully designed, artless tear-jerker. The lost opportunity is that he's got the masterful Bening and Harris to play with, great enough actors to turn any interaction — however tritely written — into an intimate, emotionally honest dance of the scarred and delicate.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    The clichés are what make White Irish Drinkers a drearily predictable bout, so much so that the decent last-round plot twist that momentarily dazes is immediately undercut by the sappy, life-changing-fuh-EV-uh jab telegraphed from the beginning.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Biyi Bandele's adaptation of Adichie's novel of loyalty and betrayal set against the turbulence of the 1960s Biafran war, certainly makes for an honorably propulsive wartime soap. It's just not stirring enough as historical drama.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Director David Bowers keeps things peppy and brightly lighted, but the movie's swiftest pleasures come from moment-seizing cast members.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    Where Gunn's last feature "Slither" was an enjoyably icky, funny riff on schlocky horror tropes, the split-personality Super merely repels with half-baked ideas, Wilson's and Page's scorched-earth overacting and atonal bursts of jokey gore.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    It's the movie's slow drift toward happiness, though, when Bruce meets a widow (Diane Farr) with a sweetly razzing sense of humor that spurs a more refreshing less patently abrasive comedy from Carolla.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 30 Robert Abele
    Thin, neatly folded, paper-airplane of a movie threatens to nose dive into tweeville.
    • 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.
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Unfortunately this "Story" never finds its footing as either a creepy morality play or a performance-driven two-hander.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    The first half is a cautiously dread-inducing tour de force as the suspicious interlopers parse the shiny, happy members for signs of a darker version of paradise... The second half, however, when all hell breaks loose a little too quickly, is the disappointment.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 70 Robert Abele
    Although no less fawning and indulgent about its self-centered subject, played by Jean-Marc Barr (who also narrates, run-on style), the muted emptiness of the ill-fated sojourn wills its way toward something like existential meaningfulness.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 40 Robert Abele
    The noir-ish contours of writer-director Ana Piterbarg's story yield a frustratingly dissipated movie, one with few storytelling pleasures and an overabundance of forced mood.
    • 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.
    • 49 Metascore
    • 50 Robert Abele
    Jamie Marks Is Dead admirably refuses to hew to conventional horror tropes and is acted with integrity by its young performers, but the film nonetheless has a nagging pulse problem.
    • 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.

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