1307 Best Film & TV Releases Translated Into Mandarin

The Spool Staff

1- Title (Year) for Movies or 2- Title Season X for TV shows (In Mandarin: 大搜捕)

Which ones are actually good? Which ones deserve their anti-acclaim? If you’re like me, every time the Razzie Awards announce their dubious nominees each year the first thing you think is “The Razzies are still a thing?” Yes, incredibly, despite their ever-diminishing relevance, they’re still around. Whereas once they were a fun and much-needed rebuttal to Hollywood excess, the Razzies in recent years have gotten lazy, obvious and a little mean-spirited. Not helping are such embarrassing snafus as announcing an entirely new category dedicated to Bruce Willis mere days before Willis’s family revealed that the actor would be retiring due to a dementia diagnosis.  The Razzies rescinded and apologized for the nomination, but the damage was done, and the question remains: in an era where seemingly one-third of podcasts are dedicated to shredding bad movies (the remaining two-thirds are, of course, related to true crime), what purpose do the Razzies even serve anymore, if they ever served one in the first place? Continue Reading →

Dolls (In Mandarin: 恶魔娃娃)

Ethan Coen goes solo for a raunchy, silly comedy-thriller. When the Coen brothers announced back in 2021 that they were taking a temporary break from working together, the anguished wails of film nerds could be heard around the world. It wasn’t anything personal – indeed, they've reportedly reunited to work on a horror movie – but rather just a desire to do their own thing separately for a little while. Their time apart resulted in two very different projects: Joel’s critically acclaimed The Tragedy of Macbeth, and now, Ethan’s Drive-Away Dolls, a good-naturedly raunchy crime caper that occasionally flounders under the weight of stale, fetishy stereotypes. The film opens with a gruesome death and a briefcase that needs to make its way from Philadelphia to Tallahassee. Also about to hit the road south are a pair of friends, brash, free-spirited Jamie (Margaret Qualley) and buttoned-up, bookish Marian (Geraldine Viswanathan). Marian wants to pay her aunt a visit, while Jamie, kicked out of her apartment by her fed-up girlfriend (Beanie Feldstein), has nothing better to do and goes along for the ride, hoping to loosen up Marian along the way..  Continue Reading →

The final season of the Star Wars side adventure goes to some unexpectedly moving places. Into a television landscape suddenly devoid of Star Wars content, The Bad Batch swoops in with its third and final season, a darker yet not grittier adventure that loops its way into the greater Universe’s timeline while still managing to surprise an audience who knows how much of this story ends.  Picking up some time after the end of Season 2 (though there are several short time skips throughout the initial eight episodes), Omega (Michelle Ang) remains imprisoned in the Imperial scientific testing facility in Mount Tantiss. Ostensibly there to assist cloning expert Nala Se and fellow female clone Emerie (Keisha Castle-Hughes), it’s clear to both Omega and the audience that she’s there for more nefarious purposes, including mysterious bloodwork that Emerie has been conducting on all of the clones and of which Nala Se is insistent that Omega not be a part. Omega is the shining star of this season from the first episode; determined, loyal, and brave (not to mention generally smarter than all of her brothers), Omega is the sort of female character on which Star Wars (and internet controversy) thrives. Decried from her very introduction, Omega has cemented her place as the heart of the Bad Batch, both the series and its namesake group.  Continue Reading →

Dune: Part Two (In Mandarin: 沙丘瀚戰:第二章)

Denis Villeneuve finishes his epic two-part adaptation of Frank Herbert's novel with sprawling scope and thorny politics. It's really a miracle that the first of Denis Villeneuve's Dune films penetrated the public consciousness as well as it did. It was released amid a worldwide pandemic; it was an IMAX-ready blockbuster that was simultaneously dropped onto people's streaming subscriptions same-day; it's based on a dense, impenetrable sci-fi novel Villeneuve patiently chose not to wholly adapt in one film. The results, blessedly, were commercial and critical success and a host of technical Oscars the following year. That success was enough to secure Dune: Part Two, a chance for Villeneuve to complete his vision of Frank Herbert's seminal work of political science fiction. Where Part One worldbuilds, Part Two barrels down the road of its inevitable conclusion in satisfying style, even as it makes some noted changes from the novel or any previous adaptations -- some for the better, some for the worse. Continue Reading →

The New Look

Apple TV+'s latest miniseries blends fashion with fascism in its dramatization of the couture wars of the 1940s and '50s. Across the crowded ballroom, Christian Dior (Ben Mendelsohn) spies Coco Chanel (Juliette Binoche) in the arms of a Nazi officer. War and occupation are chaos for everyone, yet these two legends of fashion couldn’t have chosen more different paths through the fog. Todd A. Kessler’s new series for AppleTV, The New Look, fashions history and gossip and tells the diverging stories of these designers with a simplicity that blossoms as the series completes its ten-episode parade. The first three episodes, which make up the pilot drop, see us through the Nazi occupation of Paris and the end of World War II. The rest of the series will trace the fallout from the choices made during the war and return us to the 1950s, where our series begins with Dior, now the face of fashion, lecturing to students at The Sorbonne. After a dizzying display of fabulous designs, cementing that this series considers fashion a wearable art, Monsieur Dior opens the floor for questions. Immediately, he is confronted with accusations that he kept designing for Nazi girlfriends while others like Coco Chanel closed their shop. But, as Dior says with a sigh, there is a “truth behind the truth.” Continue Reading →

Love (In Mandarin: 勁凹)

Engage in holiday self-care with some movies that put a stake in the heart of romance. Even if you're in a content, stable relationship, Valentine's Day can often feel like a bit of a joyless slog. Like a lot of holidays in the internet era, it's become less a day of celebration, and more another excuse to engage in conspicuous consumption and endless games of one-upmanship. Who got the biggest flower arrangement at the office? Who cares? Whether single or not, you may understandably feel as if all the fun and romantic flair has been squeezed out of the day. In keeping with that, consider this short list of bleakly funny, sad, or just plain horrifying cinematic takes on romance to get you in the anti-spirit. Continue Reading →

Madame Web (In Mandarin: Madame Web 蜘蛛夫人)

The latest chapter in Sony's Spider-Man Universe makes Morbius look like a masterpiece. In an age where the Marvel Cinematic Universe has categorically lost its luster, it's tempting to imagine how green the grass is on the other side of the hill. To imagine that someone, somewhere, is doing inventive work with some of America's most pervasive modern myths -- without the heaving strain of an interconnected narrative, a cast of over-it actors, or visual effects teams stretched beyond their breaking point. You won't find it, however, in the strangely-dubbed "Sony's Spider-Man Universe" -- that casually connected series of antihero films (the Venoms, Morbius) that attempts to cobble together its own Sinister Six from the contractual scraps Disney left Sony after its acquisition of Marvel Studios. And Madame Web, the latest grasp at superhero relevancy in a dying comic book movie landscape, is easily its messiest, most forgettable shrug in that direction. It's astonishing to think that Sony could put out a worse product than 2022's Morbius -- a misfire of a mad-scientist picture that at least contained a few interesting images and the perverse sight of Matt Smith gnashing his pointy vampire teeth through a chopped-up villain performance -- but boy, Madame Web manages it. It's a passive whisper of a film, one that barely registers its own existence. The only reason someone would even deign to make it is because they're contractually obligated to maintain a specific character's intellectual property, not to mention a heaping stake of product placement from Pepsi. Continue Reading →


AppleTV+’s latest foray into sci-fi is short on resolutions but long on atmosphere. It is, perhaps, a bit unfair to start a review of Constellation by noting its similarities to The Cloverfield Paradox. Still, they’re undeniably evident in the early going. The show opens with an international collection of astronauts facing an emergency in the wake of an incredible experiment. In the aftermath, evidence mounts that fatalities and damage to the space station were not the only consequences. Those who stayed up late after the Super Bowl to watch the third film in the ­Cloverfield anthology brand (?) will likely hear how similar that plot sounds. Thankfully, AppleTV+’s new series comes out looking favorable in the comparison. A significant reason why is Constellation is far more interested in mining horror from what happens when Jo (Noomi Rapace) returns to Earth. As the astronaut left behind longest on the dying space station, her sense of disconnect is initially entirely understandable. However, as her experiences increasingly fail to match the realities of everyone around her, the suggestion that she’s experiencing nothing more than some short-term trauma response breaks down. Something happened to Jo, something she’s brought back to Earth with her. Continue Reading →

One Day

Netflix’s new romance limited series offers a thoughtful, warm adaptation of the 2009 novel. The hook of author David Nicholls’ 2009 novel is irresistible. Readers catch up with two former classmates who are something more than friends but not quite lovers on the same day, July 19, every year from 1988 to 2008. It’s no wonder it has managed two adaptations in the 15 years since its release—first as a 2011 movie directed by Lone Scherfig from a script by Nicholls himself and now as a limited series created by Nicole Taylor, with only one Nicholls’ script among the fourteen episodes. Dexter Mayhew (Leo Woodall) is handsome, charismatic, and just rich enough not to worry about making a plan for his future. Emma Morley (Ambika Mod) is also quite attractive—although she can’t (or won’t) see it—and from a working-class background that makes her feel as though she can’t pursue her clear goal for the future: to become a writer. They travel in different circles, but on the night of graduation, they end up falling into her bed. While they kiss plenty, it never goes further, Emma preferring to chat despite her massive and evident crush on Dexter.  Continue Reading →

Frankenstein (In Mandarin: 科学怪人)

After catching Lisa Frankenstein this weekend, check out some of these weird & wild spins on the legendary tale. Now that we've all established that Frankenstein (or Fronkensteen, whichever you prefer) is in fact the name of the doctor, and his creation is just "the Creature," we can sit back and enjoy a revival in appreciation for Mary Shelley's landmark story that skillfully wove together body horror, science, and existentialism. Following the critically acclaimed Poor Things is Zelda Williams' 80s-set comedy Lisa Frankenstein, opening in theaters tomorrow, which acts as a nice appetizer before Guillermo del Toro's long-awaited adaptation on the story and Maggie Gyllenhaal's version of Bride of Frankenstein, both set for release next year. While often overlooked in favor of the cooler, sexier Dracula, there's plenty of media dedicated to Dr. Frankenstein and his creation, starting with James Whale's unimpeachable 1931 adaptation and its even better sequel, 1935's Bride of Frankenstein. It's been lovingly parodied (Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein), given a family-friendly treatment (Tim Burton's Frankenweenie), turned into a musical (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), and even made into porn (more movies than you can possibly imagine). Here now are a list of some of the more notably unusual (and non-pornographic) takes on the story, offering gore, laughs, romance, or just general weirdness. Continue Reading →

The Beekeeper (In Mandarin: 蜂神惡殺)

The film's biggest highlight is the actor as an unlikely hero: a beekeeper-turned-assassin. Bees, scammers, and a hive of lies. Jason Statham’s latest record-breaking feature The Beekeeper is honey-soaked, with wisdom that leaves the viewer wanting more and learning to be wary of scammers, stop elder abuse, and save the bees. As he aggressively fights to save the bees (and society) from total destruction, Statham serves up the same kind of grizzled Brit-buster vibes he's given us through decades of punch-em-up action. But this one's something special, a caper that leans into the meme of both Statham's curious star power and his apian brethren. Directed by David Ayer, The Beekeeper tells the story of Adam Clay (Jason Statham), a beekeeper and retired member of the crime-fighting organization of the same name. But when his elderly neighbor Mrs. Parker (Phylicia Rashad) is subject to scammers and loses everything, Adam goes on a mission to find the scammers and kill their operation to “protect the hive.” His journey leads him all the way to the White House, even involving the FBI and CIA. Continue Reading →

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Amazon’s excellent reboot seems more interested in interrogating Bond movies and television domestic dramas than its thin source material.  So, remember that movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith? Not the Alfred Hitchcock Mr. and Mrs. Smith from 1941, the Doug Liman one about the two married assassins that end up trying to kill one another? (No, Scott Bakula was in the television show from the 90s about two married assassins called Mr. and Mrs. Smith.) This is the 2005 movie with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Remember all the tabloid stories about their relationship? Great! Do you remember the film itself? Kinda? Yeah, that’s exactly the kind of movie it was. Neither good nor bad, Mr. and Mrs. Smith modestly cleared the “watchable” bar mostly on the backs of its cute premise, Pitt and Jolie’s magnetism, and competent (if unremarkable) direction. It is, in that respect, a perfect candidate for a reboot - just good enough for you to wish someone had put in the work to make it better. Now, almost twenty years later, someone has.  Continue Reading →


Gus Van Sant & Jon Robin Baitz collaborate on a miniseries rich in both vintage style & human drama. Nora Ephron once said “Everything is copy.” When you’re a writer, anything you see, experience, or hear, even in confidence, might be filed away to use as creative fodder later, despite the potentially sketchy ethics of it. If you’re lucky, maybe your friends won’t recognize themselves quite as easily as the friends of Truman Capote did when he wrote “La Côte Basque, 1965,” a short story published in Esquire. Though the story purported to be fiction, it was thinly veiled fiction at best. So thin, in fact, you could see right through it. The events leading up to the publication of Capote’s work in 1975, and the fallout afterward, is the focus of Feud: Capote vs. The Swans, a limited series that at first blush looks like it’s going to be camp nonsense in the vein of the interminable Real Housewives franchise, but has a deep sense of melancholy at its core. With the first four episodes directed by Gus Van Sant, where an easy approach would be to clearly delineate villains and heroes from the beginning, instead it offers something a little more complicated, and asks some uncomfortable questions about friendship, creativity, and trust. Continue Reading →

In the Know

Peacock’s claymation sitcom is at its best when it skips the satire for the strange, but “best” is grading on a curve. To its credit, In The Know resists dropping the term “woke” to describe its characters. Unfortunately, in a fairly disastrous opener, that’s the only “those silly sensitive liberals” signifier it lets go past. The premiere’s big joke, one it repeats OFTEN, centers on the proper terminology for someone without a place to live. Because, of course, it's a goofy waste of time to worry about language. Only Zach Woods’ ever-increasing profane frustration at being corrected by Fabian (Caitlin Reilly) saves the bit. His voice performance as “NPR’s third most popular host” Lauren Caspian is just sly enough to make it unclear if his anger comes from his inability to remember the correct term, someone having the nerve to interrupt him, or the thought that someone in the office might be more progressive than him. It isn’t that mocking blowhard radio hosts can’t be a rich comic vein. Just check out the original Frasier series, a show with a strangely intense cross-generational appeal that persists even over 19 years after the final episode aired. It’s centering that mockery on NPR, particularly an NPR that has more in common with a conservative’s fever dream of what the company is like rather than anything resembling reality, feels like a weak tea. Fortunately, things improve for In The Know as it quickly moves beyond what initially seems like an exercise in sticking it to those caricatures of public radio employees. Continue Reading →

Hazbin Hotel

Messy writing keeps this solid cast from shepherding Hotel to strong Yelp scores. Hazbin Hotel is not for me. That is not a bad thing. If every piece of media appealed to everyone, the homogeneity would be stifling. I can see the appeal of a big, bombastic, gleefully violent, heart-on-its-sleeve musical cartoon for grown-ups (heck, I've enjoyed my fair share of them)—I just don't click with the show's ice-pop made-of-blood aesthetic, and I'm not a huge show-tune guy. Acknowledging the disconnect between the show's vibe and my personal tastes, as a critic, I have two primary takeaways from Hazbin Hotel's first four episodes: In terms of animation and voicework, Hazbin Hotel is solid—and Keith David's turn as the burnt-out bartending demon Husk is a standout among a game cast. In terms of writing, Hazbin Hotel is a mess, awkwardly careening between silly and dramatic without precision—most noticeably when it delves into the horrific life of one of its lead players. Hazbin Hotel's aesthetic is built on contrasts—primarily between series heroine Charlie Morningstar (Erika Henningsen)'s deliberate good cheer, bright smiles, and crayon drawings and the continual viciousness of Hell and most of its denizens. Visually, the cast (both the show's core ensemble and the wider community of Hell) is expressive and distinct. Hell's assorted players and agents are united across factions by the frequent use of red and black either alone or in concert in costume design. Each faction, in turn, has its own visual signifiers—the staff and residents of the Hotel tend towards a hybrid of casual and professional wear, while a powerful gangster clique goes all in on decadence. Heaven's murderous, brotastic angels, meanwhile, opt for a more uniform style. Continue Reading →

Death and Other Details

Hulu’s entry in the massive cast mystery trend starts with sexy confidence before collapsing under its own weight. Mysteries have steadily made a comeback on screens and in multiplexes over the past several years. Kenneth Branagh offered old-school fun with his triptych (so far) take on master of the genre Agatha Christie’s works. Rian Johnson took Christie into modern times with a helping of class insight in Knives Out and Glass Onion. Things even get meta with the murder at an Agatha Christie play shenanigans of See How They Run. Series like The Afterparty and Murder at the End of the World took the genre to the small screen. With all this competition, of course Death and Other Details would try to find a new way of telling a familiar tale. Early on, it seems series’ creators Heidi Cole McAdams and Mike Weiss have hit upon a simple but ingenious solution. Let’s get some sex in here! For all the delights of the massive cast mystery revival, each project has been noticeably short on heat. Daniel Craig can still fill out some swim trunks with the best of them, but he’s a married man with a barely glimpsed sweet hubby back home. Emma Corin’s Darby Hart had a romance with Harris Dickinson’s Bill in End of the World, but by the time we know them, those days are over. Death and Other Details, however, boldly declares that, to paraphrase High Fidelity, it’s ok to be investigating a murder and horny at the same time. Continue Reading →

Neighbors (In Mandarin: 賤鄰50)

Josh Forbes’ uneven horror-comedy goes nowhere after a while, but has fun getting there. Apartment life means having to give up most expectations of peace and quiet. I’ve had a neighbor who spent most of his days listening to disco music set at eleven on the volume dial, occasionally letting out a joyful “woo!” Another would tunelessly noodle on a keyboard for hours at a time. A third sounded as if he offered Irish step dancing lessons for extra income. Some people talk a good game about not putting up with noise, but most of us just learn to deal with it, usually by grumbling about it and making our own noise to cover it up. Every now and then, however, a person will just snap, and then you end up with Destroy All Neighbors, a likably silly horror-comedy that compensates for a lack of plot and character development with gory practical effects and a memorable performance by Alex Winter. Continue Reading →

Mean Girls (In Mandarin: 辣妹過招)

The Broadway adaptation defangs its best characters in a misguided effort to appeal to a new generation of viewers. Paramount’s new version of Tina Fey’s cult classic Mean Girls boasts a tagline many Millennials found downright offensive upon debut: “This ain’t your mother’s Mean Girls!” The movie, based on the Broadway musical adapted from the original 2004 film, makes it abundantly clear that it’s aimed directly at Gen Z from its very opening moments, which look like a vertical phone video straight out of TikTok. Fey, the writer of both versions of Mean Girls, hasn’t been without her fair share of controversies over the twenty years since the first film premiered. In a clear effort to avoid upsetting younger audience members who have grown up with more sensitive media, Fey kneecaps many of her own best jokes. The updated script is a wobbly attempt to satisfy fans of the original without offending newcomers. The set-ups where there used to be jokes still remain, but they’re empty husks strung together by mostly forgettable songs. Though not without its unique charms, the musical Mean Girls is glaringly unfunny. The music, written by Fey’s husband and frequent creative collaborator Jeff Richmond, does little to make up for the chasms where cutting punchlines have been removed. Richmond can write excellent, hilarious songs like the ones in 30 Rock and Girls5eva, but his compositions here are basic and feel uninspired. Most of the sincere songs revolve around bland messages about self-esteem that lack any insight into the actual emotional experiences of teenage girls. Emo outcast Janis ‘Imi’ike (Auli’i Cravalho, Moana), formerly a supporting character, gets what feels like four separate songs about the power of Being Yourself. Only “Sexy,” a playful number about Halloween costumes performed by ditzy beauty Karen Shetty (Avantika), stands out.  Continue Reading →

Criminal Record

AppleTV+’s new crime drama compellingly juggles issues of race, internal politics, and family dynamics. Criminal Record drips with a sinister sense of foreboding in the first episode’s cold opening. Daniel Hegarty (Peter Capaldi), a high-ranking cop moonlighting as a car service driver, guides an age-mismatched couple to their destination, trying to play nice with them. The man of the lovers obnoxiously probes Hegarty for gruesome tales. In reply, the detective briefly indulges them before trailing off. To bring things to a close, he declares he’s seen far worse than what he’s described, and more often besides. Nothing more happens. We never see the couple again. Presumably, Hegarty got them where they were going without anything further of interest occurring. Still, the scene bristles and pulses with danger. One can easily imagine Hegarty arresting them both. Or, worse, revealing his corruption and killing them both. Criminal Record isn’t that kind of show, as it turns out. However, the series smartly sets its tone in those early moments. No matter what it shows the audience after that, it’s impossible to shake the sense that this aging cop, played by Capaldi as somehow both spry and fragile, could be a ticking time bomb. Continue Reading →

What If...?

Disney+'s animated exploration of what could've been continues to intrigue in Season 2, but not all episodes are created equal. With What If…? Season 2, the time seems right to take a look at both seasons and rank them for your entertainment. Is it wrong to rank art? Possibly, but we’re of the mind that something that feels this good can’t possibly be bad. On that note, let’s not waste a moment more and start counting down from worst to best. The Watcher (Jeffrey Wright) hates to be kept waiting! Continue Reading →