• R, 1 hr. 36 min.
  • Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Jonathan Parker
    In Theaters:
    Oct 23, 2009 Wide
    On DVD:
    Jun 1, 2010
  • Samuel Goldwyn Films

Opening

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(Untitled) Reviews

Page 1 of 6
Lewis C

Super Reviewer

January 22, 2010
"How do you deal with such idiotic criticism?"

(Untitled) is an absurd, entertaining mixture of a comedy, a romantic comedy, a drama, and a satire of the New York art scene (and some modern art in general, I suppose). It caught my eye because of the presence of Marley Shelton and Lucy Punch, two underrated and really hot actresses that I make a habit of checking out in every movie I can, but it turned out to be a worthwhile movie, beyond their presence.

The two main characters are Adrian (Adam Goldberg), a bohemian experimental musician (think kicking buckets and ripping paper), and Madeline (Marley Shelton), a gallery owner who sells the commercial work of Adrian's brother to keep her gallery open, while only allowing more avant-garde pieces to be shown there. Madeline finds herself drawn to Adrian's unconventional sensibilities, but conflict eventually arises between the two when Madeline's eccentric clients don't meet Adrian's ideas of what art should be.

(Untitled) is funniest when showcasing the "artwork" of its supporting characters, including Ray Park as an artist who uses taxidermy in a unique way, and Zak Orth in a small but absolutely scene-stealing role.

I think you probably have to be familiar with, or at least aware of, the modern art scene to see the appeal of (Untitled). It's not a hard film to get your head around, or anything like that, but it does get its humor from situations and jokes that may not have appeal for everyone. I thought it was quite amusing, though, and I recommend that anyone who finds the idea interesting, gives it a try.
Bill D 2007
Bill D 2007

Super Reviewer

November 13, 2009
"(Untitled)" starts off as a predictable parody of contemporary art such as you'd see on an episode of "Seinfeld" or some other TV sitcom. An avant-garde musician repeatedly kicks a can and calls it art, for example. We've only seen this parody a million times.

But through the course of the film, something surprising happens. Director and co-writer Jonathan Parker reveals himself actually to know about contemporary art. Imagine that: a film about art where the filmmaker actually knows something about art -- and not just about the biographies of artists. At last! In this sense, "(Untitled)" is a long-overdue, pioneering film. For this reason, I wanted so much to like it. Unfortunately though, Mr. Parker doesn't have much to say about art, artists, or gallery owners.

Parker celebrates the avant-garde spirit of being ultra-conceptual and 100 years ahead of the ordinary bourgeoisie. He also pokes affectionate fun at certain excesses, such as the statuesque gallery owner whose clothes are such works of art that they make noise whenever she walks. Galleries are skewered to a degree for having a dishonest, almost predatory approach to artists. But that's pretty much the entire film. Not much more ultimately than you'd get in a "Seinfeld" episode -- and "Seinfeld" is more fun.

Parker and co-writer Catherine DiNapoli know about art. But they don't know much about what makes for a compelling feature film.
Eric B

Super Reviewer

July 15, 2012
As aggressively arty as its title, "(Untitled)" is ostensibly about a romance between an avant-garde musician (Adam Goldberg, sporting his usual neanderthal scowl) and a trendy gallery owner (delicious Marley Shelton), but the script has more provocative questions in mind about art itself. Does it require technical skill? Can it be created or collected for profit? What ingredients are off-limits? Can music have no tempo or key? Can everyday objects make music? Aesthetic issues like this rarely come up in a romantic comedy, and the far-out musical pieces (mostly conceived by composer David Lang) are alternately fun and exasperating to behold.

The film takes an interesting turn as it goes, initially presenting experimental works as something arcane and impressive (too much for the common man -- hmpf!) but gradually becoming more critical to imply a hollow charade between artist and patron. Zak Orth adds some sharp scenes as a flaky, nouveau-riche collector who buys art to make himself feel important, and Vinnie Jones plays a British conceptual artist who may be a cruel parody of Damien Hirst. Ptolemy Slocum is quite funny as a listless "visionary" who sticks Post-It notes on walls and calls them conceptual art, while Eion Bailey (currently seen on TV's "Once Upon a Time") is Goldberg's deluded painter brother, churning out interchangeable product that reaps unholy riches as doctor's-office fodder. The script is rather heavy-handed in making its points, but the setting is unusual enough to be oddly refreshing.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

November 1, 2009
In "(Untitled)", Adrian(Adam Goldberg) is miserable at the lack of acclaim for his experimental music and has vowed that if he is not successful in three years' time, he will kill himself. He already has the pills, by the way. If that does not do it, playing in piano bars will certainly finish him off. His brother Josh(Eion Bailey) is the commercially successful artist in the family whose artwork Madeleine(Marley Shelton) sells out of the back room of her gallery to hotels and hospitals to support her showcasing less mainstream artists. After a disastrous concert given by Adrian, she takes a liking to him, convincing Porter(Zak Orth), a wealthy collector, to fund an original work by him.

If the easiest target for criticism is George W. Bush, then the second easiest must be modern art, as most of it must seem ridiculous to the casual onlooker. And as tempting as it may seem, "(Untitled)" takes the hard road and succeeds, starting with its glorious opening shot, by not treating its characters as caricatures. And with its witty and thoughtful deconstruction, does not go after the artwork itself, but the commercialization of it. In fact, it changes the question from is it art to do you like it? It is Madeleine's job to convince the collectors to like the artwork displayed, so she adopts a hip persona to play the part. Conversely, with the exception of Josh, the artists are sincere(and I think it is sheer genius to have Vinnie Jones play one of them) in their efforts, especially Adrian. I disagree with the onscreen critics. I think his music is emotional, just not a positive emotion, since he always seems like he is in a great deal of pain. In the end, music like art is a deliberate action, unlike noise such as cell phone rings and the sound of Madeleine's clothing.
meril l

Super Reviewer

February 4, 2010
A spoof on the pretentious modern art scene? Count me in! Masterfully executed, this film is so ridiculous - and doesn't take itself seriously. You will learn to see taxidermy and doorstops as the next big things in art, as well as the correct way to kick a bucket. I quite liked some of the atonal music... what does that say about me!?
Sunil J

Super Reviewer

January 1, 2011
I was very bored.
aih001
September 1, 2012
As a composer of "experimental" music earlier in my life, I could relate to just about every aspect of the Adam Goldberg character's life (except for the sexual relationship with a beautiful art gallery owner). The sparse crowds, resentful performers and moneyed "fauxhemians" in particular resonated with me. I also enjoyed other quirky touches, especially the unnamed bass clarinetist, simply called "The Clarinet." My own studies in composition came to an abrupt end when my work turned toward lampooning "experimental" music, something that the composition department at my school didn't look upon kindly.
HurdAudio
January 2, 2010
Brutally funny. Filled with quips and one liners and more than a few doses of the "what is art?" nonsense that pervades fine arts institutions. A much needed portrayal of pretensions run amok.
Matty Stanfield
December 21, 2013
Skewering satire of the New York art scene. Great fun.
July 9, 2013
It does a good job of making fun of what passes for art but then makes you look at it long enough to appreciate it.
February 20, 2013
far from perfection yet very original
September 9, 2009
Having studied at an experimental art school, I found this film to be pretty amusing.
September 21, 2012
If you've ever been annoyed by an art-snob, this will make you laugh. I'm not sure if art-snobs will get the laughing with or AT you vibe..
July 20, 2012
Clever satiric criticism on today'd modern art.
April 12, 2012
If you're neither musician, art maker, nor a lover of the latter, you won't get this film. HOWEVER, if the names John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg ring a bell, then you might just love it. I definitely did.
January 1, 2012
Should have been way shorter and not a good film by far. But, I did enjoy it more than I thought I would and it is going to keep me thinking for a while
April 6, 2011
Surprisingly interesting take on what is art, what makes an artist.
February 21, 2011
A great movie about What is Art? Very funny!
February 18, 2011
Yes, at LAST a real discussion of the real state of art in our times.
January 1, 2011
a funny movie about the absurdity of the art and music world in NYC
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