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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11:04am

Fri October 21, 2011
Movie Reviews

High Anxieties Make For A Mad, Mad Movie World

Originally published on Fri October 21, 2011 7:42 pm

Here Bums The Bride: Lars von Trier's Melancholia centers on a newlywed (Kirsten Dunst) whose chronic depression leaves her singularly well-equipped to confront the end of the world.

Magnolia Pictures

In the space of a few weeks, Hollywood will give us four serious dramas about mentally unstable characters. It's a minitrend at best, and most likely coincidental. But it got me thinking about how filmmakers use narrative form to shake up audiences and put them in the same frame of mind as the characters they're watching.

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2:11pm

Fri October 14, 2011
Movie Reviews

Remakes Rethink: Is Hollywood Really Out Of Ideas?

Holding out for ... what again? A remake of 1984's Footloose (with Kevin Bacon) has some fans crying foul — but if Aretha Franklin can earn respect with an Otis Redding song, why can't Hollywood take a second look at something?

The Kobal Collection Picture Desk

It's been a big year for Hollywood remakes — more than a dozen, not counting sequels. There were new versions of Conan the Barbarian and Arthur this summer. Fresh incarnations of Footloose and The Thing open today. And soon we'll see Hollywood's take on the Swedish hit The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Cue the standard complaint: Hollywood has run out of ideas.

Hold on, though. Let's think this through.

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2:50pm

Fri October 7, 2011
Movies

Movie Review: 'The Ides of March'

A political thriller, The Ides of March, opens Friday. That's one week before the ides of October — and a few months before the first presidential primaries.

2:12pm

Tue October 4, 2011
Monkey See

DVD Picks: 'The Honeymooners'

Originally published on Tue October 4, 2011 4:52 pm

MPI Home Video

Time for our movie critic Bob Mondello to suggest something for home-viewing. Today, he's exploring a 15-disk collection of classic TV comedy that nobody's seen for a while: The Honeymooners: The Lost Episodes.

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1:41pm

Tue September 27, 2011
Monkey See

DVD Picks: 'Ben-Hur'

Warner Home Video

Time for our movie critic Bob Mondello's suggestions for home-viewing. Today he's recommending a wide-screen 1950s epic that was specifically designed to draw people away from their TV sets: Ben-Hur.

Everything about Ben-Hur was big. Reeeeally big. The sound was stereophonic (which was new back then), the screen wider than all outdoors, and that chariot race — flat-out enormous.

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