NPR
For 270 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 69% higher than the average critic
  • 3% same as the average critic
  • 28% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 10.6 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Bob Mondello's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 73
Highest review score: 100 The King's Speech
Lowest review score: 10 I Am Number Four
Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 7 out of 270
270 movie reviews
    • 76 Metascore
    • 95 Bob Mondello
    As with Six by Sondheim, Tim's Vermeer works at capturing on film how artists work their miracles. And it will have you, long after the credits fade, puzzling out questions of invention, creativity, science, talent, painstaking craft, and the magic that comes of putting all that together.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 85 Bob Mondello
    Director Dean DeBlois has been saying this installment is the middle movie in a How to Train Your Dragon trilogy. It's clear that he took inspiration from the first Star Wars trilogy — not a bad model for breathing new life, and yes, a bit of fire, into one of Hollywood's more nuanced animated franchises.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Bob Mondello
    Lisbeth, pierced, tattooed and played by Rapace with a sometimes uncontrolled ferocity, qualifies as both a victim of male violence and a violent avenger of it. This makes her a lot more compelling than her comparatively passive partner -- something that Hollywood will doubtless find it necessary to "remedy" when Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is remade in English.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Bob Mondello
    An animated western that's effortlessly the most exhilarating flight of computer-drawn fancy since "Ratatouille."
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    Jack, as played by Andrew Garfield, comes across as agonized, desperately anxious to get things right -- something you might also say about the filmmakers, who have turned Boy A's very particular story into a scary, universal and wrenching social statement.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    What's not fictional in their Trip to Italy is the gorgeous Italian coastline director Michael Winterbottom has them romping through, or the food they barely notice (though it'll have you famished by film's end), or the yacht they commandeer, bellowing all the while ...
    • 75 Metascore
    • 85 Bob Mondello
    As captured by the Safdies, they are — one and all — persuasive, arresting and fiercely in the moment, whether scamming or shooting up or doing heaven knows what to get by.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 90 Bob Mondello
    Spy
    It is, in short, a generous, smart, sexy comedy, surrounding this generous, smart, sexy star. About time.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    It's customary to describe this kind of thriller as "adrenaline-fueled," but this is the first time apart from "Pulp Fiction" I can recall there being an actual shot of adrenaline on screen. Samuel uses it to wake Hugo from his coma, then kind of wishes he hadn't.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    It's the sort of film that feels so authentic that even knowing it's a fiction, the morning after seeing it, I found myself scanning headlines to see if there were any new developments.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    In their no-budget-goofball way, these minifilma are genius. Sheer genius. This kid, you figure, is gonna grow up to be quite a storyteller. And in a sense, he did.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    The Safdies filmed with handheld cameras, an obvious affection for New York and its denizens, and a script that includes so much structured improvisation that it's hard to imagine any of the dialogue was actually written down. Not surprisingly, the result is a character study with an almost documentary feel to it.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    I'm guessing Humpday will make its natural, easygoing leading men -- Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard -- much sought after.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 85 Bob Mondello
    All I can add to the discussion is the fervent hope that any parents, teachers, administrators or students who see it will immediately start clamoring for it to be shown at their next PTA meeting.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Bob Mondello
    With most of its voices hailing from Broadway, it's a good bet the composers have one eye fixed on a future stage incarnation; makes sense, then, that there'd be references to a couple of Disney's Broadway hits. The opening number sounds a lot like "The Lion King"; then there's a "Beauty and the Beast"-style tour of the town.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    The filmmakers -- mumblecore moguls, if such a thing can be said to exist -- prefer a squirmy kind of comedy that's all about the awkward situations real people find themselves in. And with these performers, the vibe stays down-to-earth and almost entirely unpredictable.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    What gives their story emotional heft has to do with a different kind of dimension: a depth of feeling surrounding the Black Stallion-style bonding of boy and beast.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Bob Mondello
    Freeman's Mandela, however, is pretty marvelous -- so persuasive in gesture, in bearing, in that signature mix of gravitas and twinkle, even in accent -- that when a shot of the real Mandela appears over the final credits, it's momentarily jarring to realize you've been watching an impersonation.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    The camera captures intimate moments with musing, chattering young women who, as All This Panic goes on, seem not so much consumed by panic as by motion — dancing in a club, running on a beach, hopping a subway or a cab, exploring ... trajectories.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 70 Bob Mondello
    The filmmakers tried to get him to tell his side of the story, but he's unwilling to appear on camera. Which leaves them in documentary limbo, since they've gone to great lengths to raise questions in the audience's mind about the case. The answers they've found are questions, their conclusion, inconclusive.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 60 Bob Mondello
    Though the film's simple story is squarely aimed at tots, DreamWorks' digitizers have referenced Eastern visual styles -- everything from delicate Chinese screens to flashy Japanese anime -- to enliven the look of the film.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 85 Bob Mondello
    The film has some fairly grisly violence, but also considerable humor and the sort of intricate, thought-through storytelling you'd expect from Hitchcock or the Coen brothers.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Bob Mondello
    Claude Miller's ravishingly shot drama A Secret gives up its titular mystery early, so it may seem odd to speak of the suspense it generates.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    The ascribing of emotions to these critters can get a little Lion King-ripe at times. But the filmmakers have filled in around their "family" narratives with footage that is breathtaking enough on a towering screen -- and you should find the biggest one possible -- that it is hard to object too strenuously.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 70 Bob Mondello
    Good Hair isn't selling anything but a good time.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    As the comedy in 50/50 turns darker, Gordon-Levitt, who's maybe the most natural, least affected actor of his generation, makes prickly plenty engaging.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Bob Mondello
    The end result is that Tiny Furniture plays like situation comedy, but with an overlay of performance art.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    It's all thoroughly adorable, and with an overlay that's nearly as odd as Carell's accent.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 85 Bob Mondello
    12
    The title is shorter, but that's the only thing remotely diminished about 12, Nikita Mikhalkov's exuberantly Russian reworking of Reginald Rose's 1950s jury-room play, "12 Angry Men."
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    John Malkovich has played some odd ducks in his career, but for sheer unsavoriness, few can match the blandly monstrous Cape Town poetry professor he brings to off-putting life in Disgrace.

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