Bob Mondello

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."

This past year of masks, lockdowns and capacity restrictions has been the most catastrophic 12 months in the history of movie theaters. It has also been a banner year for diversity at the Oscars.

ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theaters said late Monday they are ceasing operations, closing all of their roughly 300 screens mostly found in California.

None has inspired more distress among Hollywood notables than the Cinerama Dome on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard.

"After shutting our doors more than a year ago," the company said in a statement, "today we must share the difficult and sad news that Pacific will not be reopening its ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theaters locations."

It's Capetown, 1981. A family gathers for what looks like a back-slapping birthday party — but is actually a farewell.

In the South African drama Moffie, Nicholas, a teenager who's as subdued as his relatives are raucous, will head off in the morning for military service that's compulsory for boys between 16 and 20. White boys that is. This being the era of apartheid, brutal segregation, and white minority rule, his basic training will prove anything-but-basic.

The pandemic has had most of Hollywood cowering for the last year or so, but nothing intimidates a Titan.

Crashing in where even Marvel's Black Widow fears to tread, Godzilla vs. Kong is opening on any screen that'll make room for it — home or cinematic. And with theaters coming back to life in Los Angeles and New York City, there's a lot of fresh real estate for them to trample.

It's been just over a year since anyone has seen a "live" Broadway musical – but ever since I got hold of a lovingly crafted new-slash-old cast-album recording, I've been thinking about a show once left for dead.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but in April of 1964, Anyone Can Whistle was a flop. It came into Manhattan with a great pedigree, headed by two movie stars making their musical debuts — Angela Lansbury and Lee Remick, each an Oscar nominee just a year earlier for Manchurian Candidate and Days of Wine and Roses, respectively.

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Every aspiring writer should be as lucky as Joanna Rakoff. She was able to turn the story of her first job into a memoir. Now that memoir has been turned into a movie. Bob Mondello has our review of "My Salinger Year."

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When you've played King Lear, Hannibal Lecter, Richard Nixon, a pope, and a superhero's dad, there are not a lot of acting hills left to climb. But critic Bob Mondello says Anthony Hopkins has found one that might be his steepest yet - the title role in the film, "The Father."

Chloe Zhao's tale of a widow (played by Frances McDormand) who is reduced to living in her van after the Great Recession, is regarded as a front-runner for this year's Academy Awards.

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A young family, a fresh start, a lot of baby chicks and a grandmother who comes to stay - critic Bob Mondello says the Golden Globe nominee "Minari" has everything it needs to be the year's most heartwarming film.

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Imagine a global pandemic where people don't get sick; they just forget - contagious memory loss. That is the premise of a new movie called "Little Fish." Critic Bob Mondello says it'll stick with you.

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That report was produced by NPR senior arts editor Tom Cole, which we would not normally mention, except Tom is retiring this week after 33 years at NPR. Congratulations, Tom. Our critic Bob Mondello has thoughts.

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It's 8:45 a.m. on a weekday in Washington, D.C., and if anyone needs a reminder why the coronavirus vaccine is important, there's one arriving at the Takoma Metro stop: an almost empty train pulling up to an almost empty subway platform at the height of rush hour.

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George Clooney envisions the end of the world in his new movie "The Midnight Sky." And our critic Bob Mondello says he does that both on screen and from the director's chair.

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Hollywood's had a complicated year, and that has made looking ahead complicated, too. NPR's Bob Mondello usually does a year-end movie preview for Thanksgiving weekend. This year, he's expanding his focus a bit.

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A man whose life revolves around music faces a world of silence in the film "Sound Of Metal." Actor and rapper Riz Ahmed stars as a drummer. Critic Bob Mondello found both the star and the movie electric.

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Hollywood loves a good story about Hollywood, so critic Bob Mondello says it should love "Mank," the story of the man who wrote "Citizen Kane."

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Vote counts are stressing out a lot of people, including critic Bob Mondello, who says he's distracting himself from election-related counting with cinematic counting.

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Jeff Bridges announced Monday night that he has a possibly life-threatening illness. He broke the news on Twitter with a reference to the iconically laid-back character with whom he's long been identified.

"As the Dude would say..New S**T has come to light," the 70-year-old actor tweeted. "I have been diagnosed with Lymphoma. Although it is a serious disease, I feel fortunate that I have a great team of doctors and the prognosis is good."

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In a first, China has overtaken North America as the world's movie box office champ. NPR's Bob Mondello has details.

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The film that won the top prize at this year's South by Southwest Film Festival is, by all accounts, a sweet and sunny college romance. What is it called? Well, we can't tell you exactly. Critic Bob Mondello explains.

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The thriller "Tenet" was supposed to bring audiences back to movie theaters this fall, and it did, just not in the U.S. Bob Mondello looks overseas and finds that theaters are, if not booming, definitely showing signs of life.

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