April 6, 2012 The Vatican is thrown into crisis when the just-elected pontiff doubts he can do the job. NPR's Bob Mondello says We Have A Pope director Nanni Moretti leavens the institutional and emotional stress with humor, and star Michel Piccoli delivers a sweetly sympathetic performance. (Recommended)
March 29, 2012 Bully, being released without a rating, takes a hard look at public-school students being cruelly targeted by their peers. NPR's Bob Mondello says the wrenching, intensely moral, potentially transformative documentary deserves to be seen by students, teachers, and parents. (Recommended)
March 24, 2012 With this weekend's release of The Hunger Games, so begins another blockbuster movie based on a series of young-adult literature. Critc Bob Mondello considers the relatively short history of Hollywood's new popular habit of targeting pre-teens at the box office.
March 22, 2012 Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen in the big-screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins' best-selling novel, in which random teens are forced to fight to the death in a televised tournament. Critic Bob Mondello says Lawrence's tough, smart performance is the biggest asset in an engaging film.
March 17, 2012 Two pairs of filmmaking brothers are both opening movies on the same weekend, and both films are about the awkwardness of growing up. Critic Bob Mondello says Jay and Mark Duplass' Jeff, Who Lives At Home and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's The Kid with a Bike share a common sense of humanity.
March 3, 2012 A fractious, self-deluding writer (Robert De Niro) reaches out to his adult son (Paul Dano) after almost two decades of estrangement. Critic Bob Mondello says the movie could have been precious in the wrong hands, but director Paul Weitz and his cast tell an emotionally real story.
February 20, 2012 We're streaming our video, downloading our books and doing away with the hard copies that used to help communicate our personalities to one another. Bob Mondello points to a surprisingly early vision of that kind of digital future — and asks what's behind the worry it expresses.
February 17, 2012 In a Borrowers adaptation from Japanese animators Studio Ghibli, a spirited, inches-tall girl and her family negotiate the hurdles and hazards of the oversized human world. Critic Bob Mondello says in an age of hyperactive kid flicks, this gentle, imaginative and visually lush film deserves a look.
February 2, 2012 In his first post-Hogwarts role, Daniel Radcliffe stars as a young lawyer sent to assess a foreboding marshland estate. Critic Bob Mondello says the film, true to its Hammer Films heritage, delivers good old-fashioned scares.
February 1, 2012 With the silent film The Artist in competition for this year's Best Picture Oscar, Bob Mondello has been thinking about the pre-talkie era. As it happens, the last silent film to win for Best Picture has just been released on Blu-ray: the 1927 flying-ace epic Wings.