Abstraction indicates a departure from reality in depiction of imagery in art. It is an interpretation of a visual that is different from what most perceive as normal. Art is no longer simply drawing a bowl of fruit but rather what the fruit means to the artist. Recently, I found myself trying to interpret a film named (Untitled), which takes a journey down the road of abstract art and music. After a great deal of reflection, I believe I am still confused.
Adrian Jacobs (played by Adam Goldberg) is a composer who makes music by kicking buckets, breaking glass and occasionally playing notes on a piano(usually without any rhythm and described as nonsense). He makes a living by working at restaurants, weddings and any other function in need of a piano player. Those engagements usually don’t last too long as he is annoyed by most of his clientele.
His brother Josh (played by Eion Bailey) is an artist but his paintings sell by the truckload to hotels, hospitals and doctor’s offices. He is managed by his girlfriend, Madeleine Gray (played by Marley Shelton) who owns a small gallery. However, Josh’s work is usually kept in the backroom while more abstract work is kept on display such as pieces devoted to taxidermy or those involving office supplies.
Josh takes Madeleine to one of Adrian’s performances. She is absolutely thrilled by what she sees and becomes very aroused by Adrian’s work (apparently she is the only person in the audience who even likes the “music”). Madeleine gets Adrian to play a second performance at the opening of a new gallery show. At the second show, Adrian gets laughed out and he runs away.
However, in the midst of everything Madeleine convinces Porter Canby (self-made rich guy who collects for the sake of collecting) (played by Zak Orth) to commission future performances. Apparently, Porter also has a thing for The Clarinet (played by Lucy Punch) who also plays in Adrian’s band. Shortly after, Madeleine invites Adrian back to her apartment.
As probably expected at this point, Madeleine uses her feminine ways to seduce Adrian into sleeping with him. They start a secret sexual relationship but Madeleine is in fact playing both of the brothers. She is using Josh for the fact that his paintings sell by the truckload which she in turn uses part of the money to finance more exotic interpretations of art. But Josh is no longer content with being in the backroom being sold to dentists, he wants his own show. There is bound to be fallout, the only question is how long that will take.
One of the more interesting things about this movie is that the music and art is real and not just created a cheap prop or improvisational piece. From my research, the taxidermy art was created by Kyle Ng and the music was composed by David Lang who is much respected for his work. It also helps that the director, Jonathan Parker is a collector of abstracts pieces and used that as a basis for this movie.
This would be convenient if the movie was actually funny. It is hard to figure out if they are making fun of the various pieces of art (or music) or if they are one hundred percent serious. Adam Goldberg is probably better suited for a supporting role rather than trying to carry a movie on his own. Marley Shelton carries the movie for the most part but she is hurt by the bizarre and non-sensical trappings of events.
It almost seemed that Eion Bailey was the more logical choice for a lead in his portrayal of Josh except that Adam was just a bigger name. There are a couple of laugh out loud moments. But those moments weren’t exactly meant to be funny but caused by the movie being so odd that you had to laugh to keep from wondering why you were wasting the 90 minutes watching this.
The video is in 2.35:1 widescreen presentation in 1080p resolution. The movie looks better than what I thought would have happened with a smaller budget. Colors are good (as well as a pushpin on a white wall can look) and the taxidermy looks a little too realistic for my liking. It also helps that both Marley Shelton and Lucy Punch are very easy on the eyes and do their best to lighten up the surroundings. The video certainly stands out as probably the best feature on the disc.
For the audio portion, we get a 5.1 English TrueHD track (2.0 mix available). It’s interesting that the back of the case as well as the menu states that it is a 5.1 Dolby Digital Track, but the receiver detects otherwise. However, it is a dialogue driven track and while there is separation, it doesn’t offer anything amazing. The few special effects, such as kicking buckets or breaking glass aren’t too special. Subtitles are included for English SDH.
- Automatic Trailers: La Mission and The City of Your Final Destination
After taking some time to digest this movie, (Untitled) despite its extreme subject manner comes off as a very average comedy. It has some funny moments and Marley Shelton looks good in vinyl. But it borders on the absurd and isn’t really that funny except to perhaps those in the “scene”.
The video and audio are fairly above average and I honestly think this movie was hurt by the lack of extras on the disc. It is hard to recommend his film unless you were always curious what would happen if stuffed animals were put up in an art gallery. At least now, I know what to do with the items in my cubicle at work.