Bob Mondello

Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career, "hired to write for every small paper in Washington, D.C., just as it was about to fold," saw that jink broken in 1984, when he came to NPR.

For more than three decades, Mondello has reviewed movies and covered the arts for NPR News, seeing at least 250 films and 100 plays annually, then sharing critiques and commentaries about the most intriguing on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine All Things Considered. In 2005, he conceived and co-produced NPR's eight-part series "American Stages," exploring the history, reach, and accomplishments of the regional theater movement.

Mondello has also written about the arts for such diverse publications as USA Today, The Washington Post, and Preservation Magazine, as well as for commercial and public television stations. And he has been a lead theater critic for Washington City Paper, D.C.'s leading alternative weekly, since 1987.

Before becoming a professional critic, Mondello spent more than a decade in entertainment advertising, working in public relations for a chain of movie theaters, where he learned the ins and outs of the film industry, and for an independent repertory theater, where he reveled in film history.

Asked what NPR pieces he's proudest of, he points to commentaries on silent films – a bit of a trick on radio – and cultural features he's produced from Argentina, where he and his husband have a second home. An avid traveler, Mondello even spends his vacations watching movies and plays in other countries. "I see as many movies in a year," he says. "As most people see in a lifetime."

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4:41pm

Mon January 26, 2015
Movies

It'd Be No 'Folly' To Remake This Musical Classic

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 8:47 am

Bob Mondello brought in his own personal copy of the original Follies cast album — intern Patrick Fort added the starburst.
Emily Jan NPR

5:14pm

Thu January 15, 2015
Movies

'Birdman,' 'Grand Budapest Hotel' Lead Oscar Nominations

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 6:33 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

3:36pm

Fri January 2, 2015
Movie Reviews

'Leviathan' And 'Two Days' Look For Oscar Gold

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 6:23 pm

Marion Cotillard is Sandra, who must convince her factory co-workers to vote against giving themselves a bonus in order to preserve her job, in Two Days, One Night.
Les Films du Fleuve

The week between Christmas and New Year's is always a boom time for Hollywood — generally the biggest box office week of the year. It is also a time of Oscar hopefuls, a group that included two foreign-language films in 2014: Two Days, One Night from Belgium, and Russia's Leviathan, both of which tackle social issues through the lens of family.

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3:24pm

Wed December 31, 2014
Movie Reviews

Favorite Films Of 2014: Why Stop At 10?

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 6:48 pm

Richard Linklater's daringly experimental Boyhood is Bob Mondello's favorite film of 2014.
IFC Productions

Hollywood would just as soon forget 2014 when it comes to box-office numbers. Despite the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, and the arrival of the final Hobbit sequel, movie grosses are off about half a billion dollars from last year.

What about quality? This year's films were quirkier than usual — but still, my cup runneth over.

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4:25pm

Wed December 24, 2014
Movie Reviews

'Selma' Manages To Be Both Passion-Inspiring And Measured

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 5:23 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

5:04pm

Fri December 19, 2014
Movie Reviews

'Mr. Turner' Is A Snuffling, Growling Work Of Art

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:58 pm

Timothy Spall finds beauty in the unlikeliest places as painter J.M.W. Turner.
Sony Pictures Classics

If you picture landscape painting as a delicate, ethereal, pristine process involving an easel on a hillside and a sunset, Mr. Turner will be an eye-opener.

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4:28pm

Wed December 17, 2014
Code Switch

An Updated 'Annie' And The Tradition Of Nontraditional Casting

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 9:07 pm

Quvenzhane Wallis (second from right) stars in an updated version of Annie, produced by Jay Z.
Barry Wetcher Sony Pictures Entertainment

That lovable moppet with the red dress, the curly hair, the big dog, and the even bigger voice is back.

This time, though, Little Orphan Annie is back with a difference: Quvenzhane Wallis is playing an African-American orphan in an ethnically diverse, up-to-date world. And that got us thinking about other instances where producers have breathed fresh life into familiar shows by making them dance to a new beat.

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1:03pm

Fri December 5, 2014
50 Great Teachers

What The Movies Taught Us About Teaching

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 2:09 pm

Denzel Washington in The Great Debaters.
The Kobal Collection

4:23pm

Thu November 27, 2014
Movies

The Holiday Films Are Coming, From 'Moses' To 'Annie'

Originally published on Thu November 27, 2014 7:57 pm

Rameses (Joel Edgerton) and his wife Nefertari (Golshifteh Farahani) try to save their stricken child, a victim of one of the plagues, in Exodus: Gods And Kings.
Kerry Brown Twentieth Century Fox

Every year, Hollywood tries to go out with a bang — the question this year is, which bang will be biggest? For sheer moviemaking grandeur, you'd think it would be hard to top the subduing of the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies. But Peter Jackson's only got Gandalf and armies. In Exodus: Gods And Kings, Ridley Scott's got Moses, 400,000 slaves, and an effects budget Pharaoh would envy, not to mention the parting of the Red Sea.

Shall we call that a draw?

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9:14am

Thu November 20, 2014
Remembrances

Renowned Theater And Film Director Mike Nichols Dies

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 12:43 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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