Bob Mondello Bob Mondello reviews movies and covers the arts for NPR and shares critiques and commentaries on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine All Things Considered.
Bob Mondello 2010
Stories By

Bob Mondello

Doby Photography/NPR
Bob Mondello 2010
Doby Photography/NPR

Bob Mondello

Arts Critic

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

For more than three decades, Mondello has reviewed movies and covered the arts for NPR, seeing at least 300 films 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 USA Today, The Washington Post, Preservation Magazine, and other publications, and has appeared as an arts commentator on commercial and public television stations. He spent 25 years reviewing live theater for Washington City Paper, DC's leading alternative weekly, and to this day, he remains enamored of the stage.

Before becoming a professional critic, Mondello learned the ins and outs of the film industry by heading the public relations department for a chain of movie theaters, and he reveled in film history as advertising director for an independent repertory theater.

Asked what NPR pieces he's proudest of, he points to an April Fool's prank in which he invented a remake of Citizen Kane, 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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Story Archive

Luce (Kelvin Harrison Jr., center) is an athletic and popular star student in director Julius Onah's film, based on J.C. Lee's play. Jon Pack/NEON hide caption

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Jon Pack/NEON

Is This Star Student A Saint Or A Sociopath?: 'Luce'

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Neil Armstrong tests out his spacesuit and camera in April 1969, three months before he would actually set foot on the moon. NASA/Project Apollo Archive hide caption

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NASA/Project Apollo Archive

Hollywood Shoots The Moon: 117 Years Of Lunar Landings At The Movies

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L to R: Mary (Michaela Watkins), Cynthia (Jillian Bell), Nathaniel (Jon Bass) and Mel (Marc Maron) get taken to a second location in Sword of Trust. IFC Films hide caption

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IFC Films

In 'Sword Of Trust,' A Questionable Antique, An Unquestionable Cast

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Spider-Man Faces The Usual Villains, An Unusually Tricky Storyline In 'Far From Home'

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'Ophelia' Sees The World Differently Than Shakespeare's Prince Hamlet

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'Toy Story 4' Reaches For An Even More Resonant Sense Of Closure Than Last Film

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Movie Review: 'Late Night' With Emma Thompson And Mindy Kaling

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'The Fall Of The American Empire' Is An Intimate Crime Comedy With An Intellectual Twist

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Hollywood's Best Hopes To Keep Moviegoers Engaged After 'Endgame'

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Disney's Live-Action 'Aladdin' Aims To Correct 1st Film's Problems, Replicate Success

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(Clockwise from top left) Toy Story 4, Aladdin, The Kitchen, Dark Phoenix, Men In Black: International, Late Night. Disney/Pixar, Daniel Smith/Walt Disney Studios, Alison Cohen Rosa/Warner Bros. Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Giles Keyte/Sony Pictures, Emily Aragones/Amazon Studios hide caption

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Disney/Pixar, Daniel Smith/Walt Disney Studios, Alison Cohen Rosa/Warner Bros. Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Giles Keyte/Sony Pictures, Emily Aragones/Amazon Studios

Before Dungeons and Dragons, there was Tweed and Trees. Nicholas Hoult plays young JRR Tolkien in Tolkien. Fox Searchlight hide caption

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Fox Searchlight

The Tale Of Young 'Tolkien' Adopts The Language Of A Standard Biopic

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Juliette Binoche Stars In 'Non-Fiction,' A Comedy About Book Publishing And Adultery

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'Avengers: Endgame' Turns Previous Box Office Record To Dust

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