9 Best Releases From the Genre War

The Spool Staff


GenreDrama War

Shinya Tsukamoto's film attempts to explore hope and sorrow in post-war Japan, with mixed results. To make Shadow of Fire, Shinya Tsukamoto stitched together two films. As a result, it proves both unpredictable and unable to satisfyingly hit the tragic and devastating notes it aims for.  Continue Reading →

Rules of Engagement

Even William Friedkin's most loyal fans would admit the Nineties were not a particularly fertile artistic period for him. That decade saw him putting out the laughable horror film The Guardian (1990), the eventual release of his long-on-the-shelf and heavily recut 1987 death penalty drama Rampage (1992), the tepid sports drama Blue Chips (1994), and the resoundingly unnecessary (save for a nifty car chase) Jade (1995). On the small screen, he helmed two made-for-cable remakes, the Roger Corman production Jailbreakers (1994) with Shannen Doherty, Antonio Sabato Jr., and Adrien Brody, and 12 Angry Men (1997) with a powerhouse cast that included Jack Lemmon, George C. Scott, Ossie Davis, James Gandolfini and, perhaps inevitably, Tony Danza.  Continue Reading →

Irena's Vow

GenreDrama War

This year's TIFF featured three tales of lost souls forging their own paths -- some of them bloodier than others. Tales of transformation are the order of the day at this year's TIFF, signposted by a trio of European films acutely concerned with the struggles women and AFAB people undertake to thrive -- or, in many cases, just survive. Take Héléna Klotz's spellbinding second feature, Spirit of Ecstasy, an icy but enthralling coming-of-age story centered around Jeanne Francoeur (Claire Pommet, best known under her French pop star alias Pomme) a non-binary child of a French gendarme who struggles to break through the glass ceiling of the French wealth management firm they work at as a quantitative analyst. Continue Reading →

Unicorn Wars

Director Alberto Vazquez has said his latest work of animated annihilation, Unicorn Wars, is inspired by three tentpole texts: Apocalypse Now, Bambi, and the Bible. We rarely see a film that’s such a clear summation of its sources. Vazquez has taken these familiar stories and ran them through an organ grinder made of rainbow-colored steel. Continue Reading →

Campanadas a medianoche

At Midnight goes by a formula that really should have worked. Set in some of the most gorgeous spots in Mexico, with two charmingly attractive leads and a premise worthy of a zany 1930s rom-com, At Midnight has everything going for it, but the pieces never quite fit. Writer-director Jonah Feingold’s script borrows from more ambitious romcoms like Jane the Virgin and Notting Hill, with limited success. Continue Reading →


What would you do to know your parents? Not just as parents, but as people—even long after their deaths? How would you make the most of a horrendous moral quagmire you had no choice in getting dragged into—and what would you do when that quagmire, for all its familiarity, finally became too much to bear? On a broader level, what makes us human—and what remains when we're gone? Director/writer Yeon Sang-ho asks and answers these questions in his out-now-on-Netflix science fiction film JUNG_E. It's a solid, thoughtful film that shines thanks to its leading trio and Sang-ho's skill at depicting and delving into the uncanny. Continue Reading →

The Greatest Beer Run Ever

“What is Vietnam?” is not a question with an easy answer, but The Greatest Beer Run Ever tackles the challenge anyway. Like the plethora of media featuring the country—in any capacity—Peter Farrelly’s film runs headlong into the notion that what is an S-shaped piece of land in Southeast Asia can also be a dream after the Fall of Saigon. Or that the starry banner that international bodies recognize is not the triple-striped one flying overseas. Or that any example henceforth will possess the same gist: try to ring up nuance when discussing Vietnam. Continue Reading →


Jalmari Helander's WWII action flick glues Inglourious Basterds to Mad Max Fury Road, and it's a fist-pumping blast. (This review is part of our 2022 Toronto International Film Festival coverage.) Continue Reading →

Occupied France. 1941. The egomaniacal, romantic SS Colonel Von Brückner (Daniel Bernhardt) and his supposed French mistress Marie (Nina Bergman) are ambushed by the Resistance on their way to secret away gold pilfered from Von Brückner’s superiors. They survive. Continue Reading →