NPR
For 272 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 10.3 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 272
272 movie reviews
    • 64 Metascore
    • 75 Bob Mondello
    Oddly though, the most shocking thing about the film is that it often prompts laughs.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    The Lunchbox is a first feature for director Ritesh Batra, but it nicely captures the almost overwhelming crush and noise of contemporary India, and it plays cleverly and delicately with the tension of whether its two correspondents might eventually meet. Theirs is one "virtual" romance that has nothing to do with social media.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 65 Bob Mondello
    Bethlehem qualifies as a promising debut for its first-time actors and director, but it's slack at first, and the thriller tricks it uses to ratchet up the tension later — musical underscoring, careening vehicles, threatening crowds — keep it from sneaking past your defenses.
    • 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.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Bob Mondello
    There's lots of information, some nice images, plenty of earnest sermonizing about culture and almost no suspense, or tension, or character development, or structure. Or, well, art.
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Bob Mondello
    Labor Day may be filled with autumn's falling leaves, but it makes sense that they're bringing it out as a prelude to spring, for the sap — and I do mean sap — is rising.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 85 Bob Mondello
    Stranger by the Lake has become a psychosexually intriguing blend of Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" and William Friedkin's "Cruising" — one in which sex gets intertwined with murder, fear battles desire, and the police discover that voyeurs don't necessarily make good witnesses if no one ever exchanges names or phone numbers.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Bob Mondello
    The last 30 seconds of the film — wrenching, startling, utterly transformative of everything that precedes them — has haunted me for months. The Past will, I'm guessing, haunt me for years.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    Director Stephen Frears, working from a book by the real Martin Sixsmith, isn't about to let the Irish church off the hook for a monstrous (and well-documented) chapter in its history. In flashbacks, he pictures the young Philomena as a sort of proto-Katniss, doing battle with a tyranny of nuns.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 95 Bob Mondello
    The filmmaker has crammed Nebraska with orneriness, humor, greed, Americana and performances so natural they seem like found objects — especially Dern's, which caps a career of character parts with a delicately nuanced character.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 85 Bob Mondello
    McConaughey's flirty drawl and rowdy energy have never been put to better dramatic use than they are in Dallas Buyers Club.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 100 Bob Mondello
    It is Ejiofor — bewildered, sorely tested, morally towering — whose staggered dignity anchors the film.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    They flail and they thrash, and Krokidas' film is just like them — as jazz-inflected and freewheeling as the Beat poetry these guys were about to unleash on the world.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 90 Bob Mondello
    Hanks and Abdi are so compellingly matched that unlike with most thrillers, it won't be the action climax in Captain Phillips that'll stick with you. It'll be that aftermath, which gets at the emotional toll of terrorism in a way few movies have.
    • 96 Metascore
    • 90 Bob Mondello
    Cuaron and his son Jonas have felt the need not just to come up with ways to keep the characters talking — there's even a mildly sneery reference to NPR at one point — but to brush in backstory and motivation, quite as if the peril of being isolated in space with a limited supply of oxygen weren't sufficient rationale for the characters' actions.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Bob Mondello
    Gordon-Levitt keeps things riotous for the film's first hour, and if he eases into an ending that's a little Hollywood-standard, after having so much fun tweaking form and content, I'm guessing audiences will cut him some slack.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    There is something weird about the twins, something that will fuel a bar room brawl until it goes quite literally global, that will let director Wright take a leap into another genre entirely and that will allow The World's End to spin into ever grander comic mayhem, even as it becomes a surprisingly effecting look at the folly of trying to recapture one's youth.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Bob Mondello
    What might seem on paper a cloyingly sentimental heartwarmer becomes, in Cretton's hands, a briskly believable, often funny, always invigorating and ultimately wrenching story of emotional fortitude.
    • 89 Metascore
    • 90 Bob Mondello
    Filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer is obviously treading on dicey moral ground here, empowering killers to tell their story when they've never been called to account for the barbarism that brought them to power.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 90 Bob Mondello
    Fruitvale Station isn't really a surprising film, except insofar as it's rare to see such a warmly emotional big-screen portrait of black family life.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 85 Bob Mondello
    The director makes clear that everyone means well — the headmistress, protective of her students; the parents, trying to shield children from things they shouldn't know about just yet; the investigators asking questions carefully, trying to see their way through ambiguous answers.
    • 37 Metascore
    • 45 Bob Mondello
    There's a couple of hundred million dollars' worth of technical wizardry up there on screen, and nothing is at stake. Except, maybe, for some future amusement park ride, and the sequels, and toys and hats and masks. And piles and piles of silver, if enough people lay down their hard-earned dollars to hear Hammer's hearty "Hi-yo."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 65 Bob Mondello
    What hasn't advanced is the plotting, which was nothing special last time and is so formulaic now that it's basically surprise-free.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 70 Bob Mondello
    The movie has made it to theaters not dead on arrival, but walking dead, running dead, and — when it's really working — swarming dead.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 80 Bob Mondello
    That film is far more interesting in concept, and infinitely more elegant in execution, than what Rogen and his buddies have cooked up in This Is the End — but I've gotta admit, it's not nearly as funny.
    • 94 Metascore
    • 90 Bob Mondello
    Delpy and Hawke have never been more persuasive. Nor has the series.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Bob Mondello
    Seriously, one of the most jaw-dropping revelations occurs halfway through the final credits. All of which makes the stories Sarah Polley tells in Stories We Tell an enormously intriguing lot.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Bob Mondello
    After sitting at his elbow that day, I can tell you how he manages the tricks I saw really close-up. Not mysterious at all: It's magic, pure and simple.

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