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
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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."

Story Archive

Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand in The Tragedy of Macbeth, directed by Joel Coen. Alison Rosa/A24/Apple TV+ hide caption

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Alison Rosa/A24/Apple TV+

Actor Sidney Poitier, who changed the face of Hollywood, dies at 94

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Peter Bogdanovich, director of 'The Last Picture Show,' has died at 82

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Nine Days, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, is writer-director Edson Oda's debut feature film. Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics hide caption

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Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Iranian Oscars entry 'A Hero' explores the complexity of a good deed

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Here are Bob Mondello's picks for the year's best 10 films

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In 'Parallel Mothers,' Almodóvar hitches unruly passions to women and family

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Review: Every beat of 'The Tragedy of Macbeth' is a cinematic flourish

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Eric Liebowitz/FX; Warner Bros; Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu; Noh Juhan/Netflix; Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures; Niko Tavernise/© 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; A24; Marvel Studios; Kirsty Griffin/Netflix

A review of 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' with as few spoilers as possible

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Spielberg offers a more complete telling of musical theater classic 'West Side Story'

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With films 'Flee' and 'Encounter,' Riz Ahmed helps tell the stories of men on the run

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Remembering the influential lyricism of Stephen Sondheim's musicals

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