Bob Mondello Bob Mondello reviews movies and covers the arts for NPR News, seeing at least 250 films and 100 plays annually, and shares critiques and commentaries on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine All Things Considered.
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 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 three decades, 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 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."

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

In 'What Will People Say' A Norwegian Teenager Must Navigate A Clash Of Cultures

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/628907305/628907306" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

If You're Familiar With Bo Burnham's Humor, 'Eighth Grade' Will Surprise You

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/628546579/628546580" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Leapin' Lizards! The Dinos Are Loose Again In 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/622678774/622678775" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'Incredibles 2' Will Empower Children And Their Parents

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/620471061/620471062" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Despite Its Title, 'The Year Of Spectacular Men' Is Mostly About Women

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/620103294/620103300" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'American Animals' Uses Documentary Techniques To Tell Story Of Kentucky Book Heist

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/616257733/616257734" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

These Movies Offer An Air-Conditioned Escape From Summer Heat

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/615010163/615010164" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'Deadpool 2' Returns With More Trash Talk And Humor

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/612082764/612082765" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Has A Long Buildup But Offers More Background On Han

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/611389710/611389714" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Clockwise from top left: Sorry To Bother You, Incredibles 2, Crazy Rich Asians, The Spy Who Dumped Me, Solo: A Star Wars Story and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Annapurna Pictures/Disney Pixar/Sanja Bucko, Warner Bros. Pictures/Hopper Stone, SMPSP/Lucasfilm Ltd./Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment and Legendary Pictures Productions hide caption

toggle caption
Annapurna Pictures/Disney Pixar/Sanja Bucko, Warner Bros. Pictures/Hopper Stone, SMPSP/Lucasfilm Ltd./Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment and Legendary Pictures Productions

A (very literal) mountain biker makes a base jump in Moab, Utah in the documentary Mountain. Greenwich Entertainment hide caption

toggle caption
Greenwich Entertainment

It's Not Just The Thin Air That's Breathtaking: The Documentary 'Mountain'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/609708994/610161930" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript