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Critic Reviews for (Untitled)
Writer-director Jonathan Parker sets us up for a 90-minute debate on aesthetics and artistic integrity, and that's a tedious exercise in any medium.
Skewers the world of contemporary art in a way that's insightful and funny without becoming a broad parody.
The impenetrable gallery jargon is quite funny at first, and the brothers' twisted relationship is set up nicely, but the movie errs when it takes itself seriously.
(Untitled) asks a lot of intriguing questions -- more intriguing than the film itself.
A serious comedy in which the assorted players - a couple of artists, some gallerists, and the people who attend (or don't attend) their shows - discuss what art is, what it should aspire to be, and what kind of people collect, exhibit, and consider it.
Audience Reviews for (Untitled)
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.
"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.
"(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.
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