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 a quarter-century, 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 partner 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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Movies
2:00 pm
Fri September 23, 2011

Movie Reviews: Three Bio-Pics

NPR's Bob Mondello reviews a true-life triple feature: Machine Gun Preacher, Moneyball and Toast, three unlikely stories based on real people.

Monkey See
2:27 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

DVD Picks: 'Prime Suspect'

In the beginning, there were lapels: Helen Mirren's DI Jane Tennison, circa 1991.
Acorn Media

Time again for film critic Bob Mondello's recommendation for your home-viewing queue. This week, to prepare for the start of NBC's new TV series Prime Suspect, he suggests you look back at the original PBS series, starring Helen Mirren.

The year was 1991, and a new British police procedural had what then counted as a gimmick: Its star — smart, forceful, and assertive — was a woman, which was a big deal.

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Monkey See
2:16 pm
Tue September 13, 2011

'Citizen Kane' At 70: Film School In A Box For The Serious Cinephile

Orson Welles takes the lead role in his film Citizen Kane, which has been released in a special 70th Anniversary Edition.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

It's time again for our movie critic Bob Mondello's latest home-viewing recommendation. This week, Bob takes a look at a 70th anniversary Blu-Ray release of what many call the greatest film of all time: Citizen Kane.

Tragic, demanding, controversial, larger-than-life, and a mystery even to those who knew him. That's newspaperman Charles Foster Kane, and those terms could also be applied to theater genius Orson Welles, who produced, directed, co-wrote, and starred in Citizen Kane when he was all of 25.

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Movie Reviews
10:43 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Battles For Survival, Small-Scale And Huge

Tommy (Tom Hardy, left) and Brendan (Joel Edgerton) are battling brothers in Warrior — a domestic drama that feels surprisingly epic.
Chuck Zlotnick Lionsgate

Contagion is about a flu epidemic that causes millions of deaths, Warrior about sibling rivalry in a working-class family. The former is a disaster epic writ surprisingly small, the latter a domestic drama writ larger than you'd think. Both prove effective, both have intriguing structures; it's a good week for movie nuts.

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Monkey See
10:16 am
Mon September 5, 2011

Bob Mondello's Fall Movie Preview: Thrills, Silence, And Harold And Kumar

Tin(pot) soldiers: John Cho, Neil Patrick Harris, and Kal Penn in A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
Darren Michaels Warner Bros. Pictures

Deep breath ... summer blockbusters now officially a thing of the past, and I'm looking forward to quieter movies coming up.

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