6 Best Releases Starring Tony Hale

The Spool Staff


The Christmas industrial complex quickly consumes the whole of pop culture. One can barely slip the surly bonds of October 31st before being inundated with a whirlwind of tinsel-tinged music, decorations, and of course, T.V. specials. There’s nothing wrong with that! While the totality of it can be overwhelming at times, even for enthusiasts, there’s something downright pleasant about a big communal celebration touching the whole of society in some way, including our favorite television shows. Continue Reading →

Hocus Pocus 2

SimilarBring It On (2000), Free Willy (1993), Hellboy (2004), Night at the Museum (2006),
Watch afterBullet Train (2022),
StarringDoug Jones, Hannah Waddingham, Sam Richardson,
StudioWalt Disney Pictures,

The original Hocus Pocus has grown to be a cult favorite over the years. The 1993 film followed the Sanderson sisters: Winnie (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy), and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) as they terrorized Salem, Massachusetts after rising from the grave—until their apparently eternal banishment the end of the film. Now, in 2022, the Sandersons have been resurrected by the corporate magic of Disney. Luckily, Hocus Pocus 2’s spellweaving will delight both nostalgic fans of the original and draw in a new crowd of young fans. Continue Reading →

Clifford the Big Red Dog

SimilarBen-Hur (1959), Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Live and Let Die (1973) On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), Scrooge (1951), Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), You Only Live Twice (1967),

Watching Clifford the Big Red Dog, it immediately becomes clear that the titular canine’s red fur represents represent the blood of the proletariat spilled at the altar of capitalism. After all, why else would Clifford populate the cast with kindly working-class humans while delivering antagonists in the form of big Pharma executives, cops, and even a pesky landlord? Clifford’s slapstick rampage is directed at the bourgeoise, whose massive number of sins are reflected in Clifford’s gigantic stature. Old Dogs auteur Walt Becker is putting the transgressions of the privileged class on display and introducing children to the concept of class consciousness.  Continue Reading →

What Josiah Saw

Another week, another showcase of the latest and greatest from Montreal's Fantasia International Film Fest -- including some real barn-burners this time around from Canada and Japan, respectively. First up is a heaping helping of Southern Gothic menace with Vincent Grashaw's What Josiah Saw, a film that throws its viewers into a kettle of water and slowly turns up the temperature one degree at a time until you don't even realize you're boiling. Set among four diffuse chapters whose connections only truly unravel in the final act, What Josiah Saw tracks the estranged, diasporic Graham family, three children haunted by the suicide of their matriarch decades prior. It was an act presumably precipitated by the various and sundry sins of their despotic, controlling father Josiah (a menacing, magnetic Robert Patrick), a man who's long touted his disbelief in God and who often took his earthly rages out on his family. The kids' childhood traumas bleed through into adulthood: Eli (Nick Stahl) is an unscrupulous criminal fresh out of jail, in debt to an unscrupulous bar owner played by Jake Weber; Mary (Kelli Garner) has ostensibly escaped to normalcy, but her anxieties about potential motherhood create rifts between her and her husband (Tony Hale). Then there's Thomas (Scott Haze), the comparatively simple-minded brother who stayed, the only one still in thrall to Josiah's whims. He seems happy to be there, quietly accepting of his fate as Josiah's lapdog. This becomes especially clear when Josiah announces one morning that his mother came to him in a vision the night before: She's burning in Hell for killing herself, and Josiah knows the only way to save her. The two fix up the house and prepare for guests -- just as Eli and Kelli get word that an oil company is ready to sell their childhood home, the source of all their grief and pain, for loads of money. Continue Reading →

The Mysterious Benedict Society

SimilarCigarette Girl, Dark Winds, In the Land of Leadale, Roswell Soul Land 2: The Peerless Tang Clan, The Lost World, Word of Honor,
Watch afterAltered Carbon, Arcane, Cobra Kai, Hawkeye How I Met Your Mother, Loki Peaky Blinders The Good Doctor, Vikings, Wednesday What If...?
Studio20th Television,

If nothing else, the new Disney+ program The Mysterious Benedict Society reaffirms that the hallmarks of Wes Anderson’s works have gone fully mainstream. As its first episode opens with a needle drop of Electric Light Orchestra’s "Livin’ Thing" plays over a montage of various adolescents living in perfectly arranged dollhouse environments, you’d be forgiven for wondering why Tony Hale is providing the opening narration instead of Bob Balaban. Like that Series of Unfortunate Events TV show, Benedict Society shows that Anderson’s style is something even kids are supposed to be aware of nowadays. Continue Reading →

Nine Days

Edson Oda's debut feature about a group of souls looking to be born into the real world is a great premise with pretty good execution. (This review is part of our coverage of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.) Tones, worldviews, inspirations both obvious and implicit—it’s notable when something juggles a medley of ideas. They signal a larger ambition even when they don’t work out. Such leads to a general rule of thumb: the farther a movie’s parts are from one another, the more conversation it’ll stimulate. Then there’s Edson Oda’s Nine Days, which, while not narratively or thematically disparate, follows suit for a while but not by the end. That isn’t to say it’s a messy movie. It’s actually quite tidy, and that’s the largest issue for a debut film that flirts with its own perspective without fully committing to one. By trying to ground its moral and ethical quandaries in something universal, it reveals its own perspective only to undo it by the end. While steady in how it approaches each character, it maintains an objective viewpoint before procuring its own perspective—until it takes the easy way out. Continue Reading →