Welcome to Obsessed, a weekly series featuring everything the KQED Arts gang can’t stop talking about. We’re bringing the conversation from the watercooler to cyber space! This week, we’re freaking out over a Gchat horror film, a wacky YCBA exhibit, a so-bad-it’s-good plane movie, and more!
A Horror Film Short Set Entirely on Gchat
Horror obsessives like me live in constant pursuit of the next big scare, the new idea that’s going to reinvent the genre. Obviously, this means a life of constant, crushing disappointment. I had really high hopes for Green Dot, a new 5-minute horror short that takes place (much like my own life!) entirely on Gmail’s Gchat instant messenger. Let’s get the bad news out of the way: it’s not very good. The intriguing concept (which unseen entity are you really talking to?) just becomes banal in execution, with a bad Nine Inch Nails soundtrack and a ‘twist’ you can see limping up your driveway from a mile away. BUT the good news: it’s actually an awesome idea, and I’m excited to think how another movie (note: not Unfriended) could use it to create this decade’s answer to the ‘tech-dread’ Asian horror of the late ’90s. You guys… Nightmare on AIM Street!
Shana Moulton as Cynthia
The central video in Shana Moulton’s current exhibition at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Picture Puzzle Pattern Door (on view through Aug. 2), combines Enya, a Shakira Activia Yogurt commercial, biofeedback devices and magical wiggly gloves for a hilarious sendup of women’s wellness products, the trappings of the New Age movement and pseudo-psychedelic spiritual questing. Pharmaceutical logos become jaunty dancing characters. Woodsy structures become portals to inner probiotic harmony. Throughout, Moulton plays “Cynthia,” a silent woman with worried eyes, a fantastic bowl cut and a penchant for muumuus. Parts of Cynthia’s world may be familiar, but the sheer oversaturation of wacky kitsch, combined with Moulton’s constantly straight face makes that world a total and bizarre pleasure to visit.
I was prepared to write about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah for this week’s column, but then I found out that Lupita Nyong’o is going to star in the film adaptation, which obviously led me to her IMDb page. There wasn’t much non-12 Years A Slave work there, other than Non-Stop, a movie starring Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, and Downton’s Mary Crawley. What? When did this happen? 2014, apparently.
Neeson plays an alcoholic air marshall who hates flying. Okay, I’m in, you’re probably thinking. But there’s more! Some crazy person threatens to kill someone on the flight every 20 minutes. Now we’re talking. The premise is absurd, but the movie easily enters so-bad-it’s-good territory. Neeson’s character loses his damn mind! There’s mile-high club action and a cramped murder in a plane bathroom! And Mary Crawley has a job (what would the Countess think of her being a flight attendant?)! What more could you want from a second-rate flick about planes? Well, yeah, snakes, but you know what I mean.
Want more? Check out our past obsessions!