Sunday, November 8, 2009

Review: '(Untitled)' [B-]

By Chase Kahn

The lovely Marley Shelton pretty much saves Jonathan Parker's (Untitled) from obscurity and the same high-class nonsense that it's attempting to skewer. As the seductive, sexy Madeliene Gray, an art gallery owner who uses a close friend to fund her underground aspirations, she is devilishly cool and confident -- plus one of the few people who seem to understand the adventurous "music" by composer Adrian Jacobs (Adam Goldberg).

It's essentially a full-blown satire about the modern age of contemporary art and the artists, faux-intellectuals and exhibitors who occupy it. Gray (Shelton) is a believer in her work, she runs shows in her gallery that are as demented and abstract as the artists that produced them, but Gray refuses to reform, sticking to her instincts as a talent scout, so to speak, someone who believes that misunderstood art is great art, perhaps to a fault.

She also seems to pick her bedmates, not by looks, not by personalities, but by artistic capabilites. She sees nothing in the commercial works of Josh Jacobs (which comedically all look the same), but gets off on the sounds effects, tonalities and bucket-kicking of his struggling brother's abstract orchestrations. Adrian (Goldberg) seems to get off on Madeliene because, well, she's good-looking -- he's completely lost of meaning inside of her sterile, pristine studio.

(Untitled) is a clear immersion into the world of these 30-something New Yorkers with linear, thick-headed ideas about art and interpretation whose intellectual ideologies don't match up. Jonathan Parker (who co-wrote the script with frequent writing partner Catherine DiNapoli) plays it for comedic results initially, to varying results, before stepping back and casting a more concerning eye. For all of its shrewd comedic perceptions and misfires alike, its an examination of perserverance and the meaning and burden of being an artist, no matter the medium.

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