Bob Mondello

When you stand in the center of Plaza del Congreso in downtown Buenos Aires, looking at the dome of Argentina's Capitol building, there's an imposing grey ghost of a building just to the right. It's a deteriorating art nouveau masterpiece: the Edificio del Molino, closed for decades, and now in the middle of a multi-year restoration.

The restorers opened it to the public for just a few hours recently, and a crowd started lining up on the sidewalk hours early, two and three abreast. When the doors finally opened, the line stretched almost three blocks.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We meet soon-to-be-class-valedictorian Luce (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) as he's addressing a high school assembly in Northern Virginia, saying all the right things about a rosy future. He is clearly practiced and comfortable in the spotlight, popular with students and with teachers, despite a wrenching childhood in war-torn Eritrea before he was adopted and brought to the U.S. He's a success story, as the school principal never tires of saying.

As a college sophomore, I knew exactly what the Apollo astronauts would find when they arrived on the moon: a desolate rockscape, craters shining white in reflected earthglow — and a big, black monolith.

Stanley Kubrick showed us all of that in the top-grossing movie of 1968 — 2001: A Space Odyssey — a full 15 months before Neil Armstrong took his giant leap for mankind. And even Kubrick was late to the party: Moviegoers had been heading moonward from pretty much the moment there were filmmakers to lead the way.

When Cynthia (Jillian Bell) and her partner (Michaela Watkins) arrive in small-town Alabama for the reading of her grandfather's will, she thinks they're inheriting a house. But to pay for his final years, he'd taken out a reverse mortgage, so instead, she's handed ... an antique sword.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The play Shakespeare called "Hamlet" has been reimagined as a new film called "Ophelia." Critic Bob Mondello says its leading lady sees the world a little differently than the sweet prince did.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The title of the new film "The Fall Of The American Empire" makes it sound very grand. Critic Bob Mondello says it's actually an intimate crime comedy with an intellectual twist.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

"Avengers: Endgame" has given Hollywood's summer movie season a very healthy head start, but maybe you're looking for something different. Or maybe you just can't get enough of superheroes and their super-issues. Our critic Bob Mondello has this summer preview.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: What's it been, six weeks since "Endgame"? And already there's another Marvel movie. But in fairness, its teen superhero is angling for a vacation far from home...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME")

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Is it weird to keep asserting that Summer Movie Season starts Memorial Day weekend, when Avengers: Endgame, the ultimate summer movie, and also the year's (the decade's! the century's!) biggest blockbuster, opened last month?

Maybe. Sure. Who cares?

"Summer movie" is a term, after all, that has taken on a negative connotation, as it tends to be deployed by those looking to sniffily dismiss the whole crop of films that come out in the months without an R. See also: "popcorn movies," "comic-book movies."

Let's specify right at the start that movies are not history, and that biopics take liberties.

Not taking liberties would mean not shaping the material of life to make it dramatic, so you'd never get a scene like, say, the one in which a young Tolkien and his college buddies declare undying devotion — declaring their friendship "a fellowship."

I'm gonna guess that that particular coinage didn't happen like that.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Avengers were warned in their last movie, "Infinity War," that an intergalactic villain intended to wipe out half the universe.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR")

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A new movie is out that looks at events that shook the world a decade ago.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "HOTEL MUMBAI")

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Thousands of wild horses still roam public lands in Western states. The government captures a few hundred each year to be tamed and sold at auction. The tamers are prison inmates. They've inspired a new film, a drama called "The Mustang." Here's critic Bob Mondello.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Captain Marvel did not just defeat her onscreen antagonists this weekend. She also stomped on a few Internet trolls. That was on the way to posting impressive numbers at the box office. Our critic Bob Mondello has details.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

How do you make a story from the 1940s speak to a 21st century audience? Critic Bob Mondello says a German filmmaker has found a fresh answer in the thriller "Transit."

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Some Oscar winners this year will have to keep their thank-you's to the length of a commercial break. As NPR's Bob Mondello reports, this is the latest effort to shorten the marathon telecast.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In this week of rival State of the Union messages, two movies about communities in conflict have opened. Critic Bob Mondello says for films that come to, essentially, the same conclusion, they could hardly be more different.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Five-time Oscar nominee Albert Finney has died. He leapt to international fame in the period comedy "Tom Jones" and went on to play characters as varied as Daddy Warbucks, Winston Churchill and Pope John Paul II. Bob Mondello offers a remembrance.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

An Oscar-winning director from Iran, stars from Spain and Argentina - critic Bob Mondello says the new movie "Everybody Knows" marries far-flung talent with a story about a wedding gone wrong.

Pages