The notion of people eavesdropping on others via television was first planted in my nascent noodle by George Burns, who would inexplicably tune his bedroom set to the living room so he could spy on Gracie Allen’s antics. In Edson Oda’s low tech depiction of limbo, Will (Winston Duke) sits before a bank of two dozen or so battered monitors, each one tuned to the life of an earthling. To make sure he doesn’t miss a moment, each “story” is recorded on VHS tapes for later playback. Why he chooses solid state tubes and magnetic tape over flat screens and digital engineering is a stylistic choice that’s never explained. It’s probably better that way. Will is not God, but a cog in the firmament. Once mortal, he is now assigned the task of finding replacement souls to fill the programming hours should one of the screens go black. There’s a mystery angle: was a show cancelled due to the lead character’s accidental death, or was it suicide? Satirizing obvious game show similarities — several of the contestants get a callback for the grand prize shot at life — takes a back seat to an anti-bullying message tacked on to raise social awareness. There’s plenty of desire on the part of the filmmakers, but not the wings needed to give it flight. (2020) — Scott Marks
This movie is not currently in theaters.