I kept holding onto these until I watched more TV, then I didn’t watch more TV… can’t seem to get to episode two of Underground Railroad or the second half of Only Murders or to start the new seasons of any of my current faves, just chilling with old movies for now.

Voir (2021)

I thought these would be Story of Film clip shows, but the first episode is mostly original photography. It’s about the summer of Jaws, with a reference to the spider eggs in Bubble Yum. 2: Tony Zhou on Lady Vengeance and the revenge film formulas – this one’s a total clip show with guest speakers, and is really nice. 3: we see the narrator, Drew McWeeny on lead-character likeability, from Lawrence of Arabia through The Godfather to Taxi Driver. Funny that he’s talking about the rise of obnoxious lead characters in the late 60s/early 70s the night after I watched Performance. 4: no film critic monologue here, it’s a special on the art of animated character design, featuring Glen Keane and artists from Brave and The Lego Movie. 5: Movies vs. TV, ehhh. 6: Simply about race in the movie 48 Hrs., but well thought-out and easily better than the last couple, which were more technical. This series was David Prior’s follow-up to The Empty Man, weirdly enough.

Travel Man season 1 (2015)

Tempted to watch The Souvenir Part II for a few sweet glimpses of Richard Ayoade, instead I discovered he spent eight years hosting reality TV shows, so I dug one up. Season one covers Barcelona with Kathy Burke… Istanbul with Adam Hills… Iceland with Jessica Hynes (Spaced), the best episode yet, and the place I most want to visit… and Marrakesh w Stephen Mangan (“The beauty is largely offset by fear”). More, please.

The horror flop-cult-hit of the year lives up to its growing reputation. I’m not convinced all the story threads came together, but loved the plot shifts, false leads, repetitions, and the overall look and movement of the thing.

Paul (Aaron Poole of The Void) falls down a hole in Bhutan and has an encounter with a zen skeleton, then becomes mute until a couple days later when he psychically murders his friends. 20+ years later, James Badge Dale is a Lonely Guy, an ex cop with a dead family. The neighbor’s daughter Amanda tries to cheer him up by saying nothing is real, then she summons urban legend The Empty Man and all her friends are found hanging under a bridge, so dumbass James emptymans himself to solve the mystery.

Amanda, emptymanning her friends:

This seems a straightforward murder-ghost scenario, but James’s investigation uncovers a dangerous doomsday cult that formed around Bhutan Paul, seeking to transfer his consciousness into a new empty vessel. A Cassady/Pattinson type (Robert Aramayo from Nocturnal Animals) helps feed him clues. Great abduction scene, all potential witnesses looking at their phones.

“We can’t indict the cosmos”

“Staged by Prior with an unnerving sense of convergence that recalls the thrillers of his sometime collaborator David Fincher, right down to the participation of a guru-like figure who goes by John Doe.” Adam Nayman conducted an essential interview for Mubi, the most unexpected shoutout being The Hamster Factor.