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

Bros is the first gay romantic comedy with a mostly LGBTQ cast to be given a wide release by a major studio. It played well in big cities, but had disappointing overall numbers in its first weekend. Above, Luke Macfarlane (left) and Billy Eichner. Universal Pictures hide caption

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Universal Pictures

Raffiella Chapman stars as Vesper, a 13-year-old bio-hacker. Courtesy of IFC Films hide caption

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Courtesy of IFC Films

In a bio-engineered dystopia, 'Vesper' finds seeds of hope

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Luke Macfarlane and Billy Eichner star in Bros. Universal Pictures hide caption

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Universal Pictures

Gay rom-com 'Bros' is light and bright while making movie history

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To mark the 75th anniversary of this uniquely American cultural movement, NPR is traveling across the country for a look forward in our series "The Next Stage." Kristen Uroda for NPR hide caption

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Kristen Uroda for NPR

Across the U.S., regional theaters are starting to transform. Here's why

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(Clockwise from top left) Seth Gilliam in The Walking Dead, Letitia Wright in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Brice Gonzalez and George Lopez in Lopez vs. Lopez, Susan Sarandon in Monarch, Harry Styles and Florence Pugh in Don't Worry Darling and Dwayne Johnson in Black Adam Jace Downs/AMC, Marvel Studios, Casey Durkin/NBC, Pete Dadds/Fox, Warner Bros. hide caption

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Jace Downs/AMC, Marvel Studios, Casey Durkin/NBC, Pete Dadds/Fox, Warner Bros.

Film director Jean-Luc Godard at Cannes festival in 1982. He was a key figure in French New Wave cinema. He died at 91, according to French media. Jean-Jacques Levy/AP hide caption

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Jean-Jacques Levy/AP

Film director Jean-Luc Godard of the French New Wave has died at 91

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Nic Lehoux/Photo by Nic Lehoux, courtesy of Bing Thom Architects

Hear all of Lee Cataluna’s monologue, “Things My Mother Told Me”

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In Vesper, Raffiella Chapman plays a 13-year-old girl living in a future where biological experiments have wiped out all the earth's edible plants. Courtesy of IFC Films hide caption

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Courtesy of IFC Films

You'll want these five films on your list for fall

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Looking ahead to some of the most anticipated films of the fall

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What National Cinema Day says about the state of the film industry

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Encore: What the movies taught us about teaching

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Books We Love: Recommended reading for nonfiction

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Jewish townspeople of the village of Nasielsk, Poland in 1938. Family Affair Films, US Holocaust Memorial Museum hide caption

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Family Affair Films, US Holocaust Memorial Museum

'The Territory' and 'Three Minutes: A Lengthening' find cinematic hope in tragedy

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