Bob Mondello

Bob Mondello
Tomatometer-approved critic
Publications: NPR.org, NPR

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
76% Jojo Rabbit (2019) Jojo Rabbit is gently comic for a while, and then surprisingly affecting at the end, so perhaps it's not fair to wish that Waititi had opted to deal more directly with the horrors of the Third Reich. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2019
96% Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria) (2019) The colors alone will inspire doctoral dissertations. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 7, 2019
93% Sword of Trust (2019) But as its cast of terrific comics thrusts and parries, Sword of Trust makes improvisation - something really difficult to pull off at feature length - seem an absolute snap. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 12, 2019
90% Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) The stakes this time turn out to be considerably lower, and your friendly neighborhood Spider-Teen is arguably just the guy to bring things down to Earth and reestablish a human scale. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 8, 2019
59% Ophelia (2019) Brevity is the soul of wit, and sumptuousness the soul of costume drama, which the movie "Ophelia" quite extravagantly is. The images are gorgeous; the feminism, gratifying. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 29, 2019
51% Tolkien (2019) It's perhaps understandable that the Tolkien estate isn't interested in being associated with this biopic - and not just because it simplifies and fudges, as biopics do. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
94% Avengers: Endgame (2019) No matter how much homework you've done, what actually happens, the order in which it happens and the folks to whom it happens will still pack surprises - also tongue-in-cheekiness and quite a bit of lump-in-throatiness. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
74% On the Basis of Sex (2019) Leder's approach to the story of a genuinely remarkable woman is genuinely, remarkably ... conventional. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 25, 2018
66% Vice (2018) Growling, gruff, and grumpy Bale makes the title character a lot like his Batman - basically a psychopath-turned-vigilante. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 25, 2018
95% If Beale Street Could Talk (2019) By the end of "If Beale Street Could Talk," it was me who could barely talk. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 20, 2018
63% Mary Queen of Scots (2018) The filmmakers have come up with a nifty, billowing fabric sequence to keep them apart while together, and that's enough to satisfy my urge to fact check, at least when the performances are as much fun as they are in "Mary Queen of Scots." - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 13, 2018
78% Anna and the Apocalypse (2018) If you're looking for polish or sophistication from "Anna And The Apocalypse," you're chomping on the wrong neck. But the songs are bouncy, the performances fresh and the gore happily not in any way related to real life. You got to love that. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2018
96% Roma (2018) "Roma" had wrapped me in its spell that completely, it would be hard to imagine a more artful arthouse attraction. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 26, 2018
93% The Favourite (2018) A Restoration comedy filtered through this director's eccentric, modern sensibilities is what "The Favourite" most resembles - witty, profane, sexually explicit, improper in the extreme, a comedy of manners without any manners at all. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 26, 2018
92% Maria By Callas (2018) The film is unfailingly sympathetic to the diva at its center. It accepts her status as a legend and does its best to enhance it. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2018
61% Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) As for Freddie Mercury, is this his real life? Is this just fantasy - not sure that really matters either. When Malek's strutting like a peacock, this movie is a decently amusing escape from reality. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2018
74% El Angel (El ángel) (2018) El Angel is sensuous enough to suggest the work of Pedro Almodovar. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2018
11% Deception (2008) When sex (and mystery) gives way to a multimillion-dollar heist (and explanations), the whole thing just gets silly. Sexy fun for a while, though. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2018
89% ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway (2007) There's loads of talent on display (from puppets to Boy George), plus plenty of dish about them all. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 5, 2018
94% Wildlife (2018) "Wildlife's" portrait of family life is much like the director's many onscreen performances - understated, sad-eyed, deeply affecting. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2018
85% Monsters and Men (2018) A lesser movie might weave these threads into a narrative that exploits real-world parallels - viral social media, athletes who take a knee, cops who close ranks. "Monsters And Men" doesn't pander or dismiss. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 11, 2018
80% 22 July (2018) The result is that what starts out harrowing ends up affirming a portrait of a country that unites to make the tragedy of 22 July count for something - the strength of their national character. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2018
81% Mid90s (2018) The cast is mostly skaters, not actors, but they're persuasive as pals, and Hill is clearly having fun. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2018
90% Capernaum (Capharnaüm) (2018) The last shot had me choking back sobs. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2018
99% Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku) (2018) "Maybe the bond is stronger when you choose your family," says someone, and darned if the film doesn't make a good case for that notion. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2018
84% Girl (2019) Where most queer films are about external conflicts and prejudice, Lara's primary conflict in this movie is with what she sees in the mirror. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2018
98% Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) As Israel, Melissa McCarthy is caustic, profane, curmudgeonly, affecting and very funny, as is Richard E. Grant as a gay alcoholic who becomes her accomplice. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 8, 2018
97% 13th (2016) In her documentary, 13th, Ava DuVernay cites the wording of the 13th amendment, which outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude "except as a punishment for crime..." but DuVernay gives the argument enormous cinematic force. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2018
93% We the Animals (2018) Somehow... Zagar has found a way to let the film's scenes surface and recede the way memories do. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2018
88% Madeline's Madeline (2018) Helena Howard makes a heart-stopping professional debut as Madeline caught between Molly Parker's manipulative acting teacher and Miranda July's differently manipulative mom. - NPR's All Things Considered EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2018
96% BlacKkKlansman (2018) There's serious tension in BlackkKlansman's situation, and the film embraces the shifts in mood with shifts in filmmaking style that allow Lee to couch his arguments in a kind of shorthand history of Hollywood's treatment of race. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 9, 2018
87% The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018) The director has enough faith in her audience to risk making all of the characters complicated, multifaceted and true-to-life. - NPR's All Things Considered EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2018
85% The Captain (Der Hauptmann) (2018) Shooting in black and white, [Schwentke has] created an unnervingly persuasive portrait of deception gone haywire in a world gone mad. - NPR's All Things Considered EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 2, 2018
89% Far From the Tree (2018) Enormously affecting. - NPR's All Things Considered EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2018
76% What Will People Say? (Hva vil folk si) (2018) As the Norwegian snow gives way to sunbaked Pakistani desert on screen, you'll feel a tug between the awful and the artful - NPR's All Things Considered EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2018
99% Eighth Grade (2018) "Eighth Grade" turns out to be an appealingly generous portrait of adolescent awkwardness, also of parental awkwardness, though Josh Hamilton's fumbling dad is a keeper. - NPR's All Things Considered EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2018
94% Incredibles 2 (2018) I exaggerate not a bit when I say that parents will feel just as empowered while watching "Incredibles 2" as any child. - NPR's All Things Considered EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2018
67% The Year of Spectacular Men (2018) For a film that marks both a screenwriting debut and a big screen directing debut, "The Year Of Spectacular Men" makes very few rookie mistakes, and the ones it does are easily outweighed by the snap of the dialogue. - NPR's All Things Considered EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 15, 2018
69% Ocean's 8 (2018) Anne Hathaway makes Daphne Kluger's laugh just one of many annoying things about her, which makes taking advantage of her fun in a movie that's not just a gender switch on heist flicks but a nifty takedown of celebrity culture and the fashion world. - NPR's All Things Considered EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2018
89% American Animals (2018) Confusing? Not a bit. Writer/director Bart Layton employs all the tricks in the docufiction playbook...[to] create a uniquely tricky heist flick and he makes sure the audience can keep up. - NPR's All Things Considered EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 1, 2018
84% Deadpool 2 (2018) Deadpool 2 is an R-rated, potty-mouthed splatterfest and a funny one. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2018
70% Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) Things do feel shaky at first, but there's spunk to [Alden] Ehrenreich's delivery and, once he settles in, a twinkle in his eye. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2018
87% Mountain (2018) Have to say that those who climb still strike me as mad, but Mountain let me hear the music. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted May 11, 2018
85% Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Infinity War's place in the Avengers saga is much like that of the middle chapters in the Lord of the Rings and Star Wars: It's chief purpose is to leave you hungry for next summer's finale. And that much, it does. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 26, 2018
97% The Rider (2018) But as wrenching as The Rider can be at times, it's also suspenseful and beautiful - a modern-day Western with a hero who's a real discovery. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2018
95% Outside In (2018) [Lynn Shelton's] actors are always natural and unaffected, but in [Edie] Falco and [Jay] Duplass, she's found interpreters who seem to breathe her characters. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 2, 2018
72% Ready Player One (2018) The plot's not going to tax anyone over the age of 12, but Spielberg crams the screen with visuals eye-popping enough to make viewers not care . - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2018
42% A Wrinkle in Time (2018) Director Ava DuVernay has a light touch with these early scenes, though she gets seriously bogged down in special effects as the film goes on. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2018
68% The Cured (2018) "The Cured" drops the politics to become a straight-up zombie flick not nearly as intriguing, though no doubt better for box office. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2018
60% The Young Karl Marx (Le jeune Karl Marx) (2018) And by the time Marx writes what his wife calls a...critique of the critical critique - well, my eyes glazing over at the dialectics, I for one needed an antidote. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 1, 2018