The art world is a strange place full of pompous egos: collectors who collect just for the sake of collecting; artists who work in mediums such as taxidermy but don't actually assemble their own pieces; musicians who think banging on random objects can be considered music; art gallery owners who book artists who they know won't sell anything, but they'll draw a crowd and create controversy. That's the world of '(untitled).'
Adrian Jacobs (Adam Goldberg) is a budding young musician who is surprised every time someone hates his music. His music consists of banging on cans, buckets, and just about anything else he can get his hands on. No, this isn't like "Stomp," this is more akin to the sound of a group of kids with baseball bats that have just found a pile of metal objects. Adrian and his band are very precise in what they do though, they look like they're concentrating really hard, even though one of them might just be ripping a piece of paper or kicking a bucket full of screws. Adrian is one of those arty types who looks down on anyone who doesn't "get it."
Ray Barko (Vinnie Jones) is a up-and-coming artist who uses dead animals in his artwork. Come to find out, Ray commissions all his pieces and doesn't put in any work when it comes to actually creating the art. He's the brains, and he takes all the credit. Madeleine Gray (Marley Shelton) is an art gallery owner who prides herself on finding new and unique artists that she knows won't sell a single thing during their shows. Instead she shows off their work to create a buzz about her gallery. She desperately wants to be considered part of the hip crowd when it comes to the art community. Josh Jacobs is Adrian's brother and he's the way Madeleine makes her money. Josh is a "commercial" artist who sells his artwork that consists of brightly colored spots to law firms and hospitals around the country. Josh is dating Madeleine and also provides the money that keeps her gallery going. He wants to have a show, but his stuff is far too commercial for something like that. When Madeleine brings in an artist who literally puts paper on a wall and titles it "Paper," Josh loses it.
By now you can tell what you're in for with '(untitled).' It's a hilarious tongue-in-cheek look at the art industry and how everything seems backward. People who make money off of their art are looked down on, while people who don't make any money but stir up controversy are rewarded with art world fame. Egos run hot and heavy, as all the different personalities clash.
The movie gets more and more bizarre as it continues, with Adrian walking around sulking like so many tortured artists we know. How come no one likes his music? He knows it's good, everyone else is completely wrong. Perhaps that's the message '(untitled)' is trying to get across. When you walk into an art gallery and see something so bizarre you're speechless, maybe just maybe, you're right in thinking that it's bad. '(untitled)' skewers the world of art in such a subversive way at times you don't know if it's being serious or completely over-the-top. Funny, clever, and witty, this little known film will have you laughing from beginning to end.
For a low budget comedy, '(untitled)' doesn't look half bad. Its 1080p presentation is one that will serve its purpose as you watch it, but after you turn it off it's utterly forgettable. Detail in faces and textures is never eye-popping, but it never looks terribly bad either. The hat worn by Vinnie Jones is one of the best examples of well defined texture. The hairs of Goldberg's beard aren't all completely visible, but it's much better detail than what you'd get in standard definition. Colors are nicely refined here, with blacks and whites being prominent. Contrast is serviceable, but again, it's nothing you're going to jump up off your couch and scream about. Crushing comes and goes during the film's darker scenes. Edges and lines are handled well. Technical anomalies like blocking aren't anywhere to be seen. I did notice a bit of aliasing on buildings and fences in backgrounds. There's nothing much more to say about this transfer. It isn't one that will stick with you after you watch it, but it isn't one you'll curse either.
Again this is exactly what you'd expect from a movie of this ilk. There's nothing here that makes this 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix sound overly impressive, but it does the work it's asked to do. The most interesting aspect of the mix is when Adrian and his band bang on wood and kick buckets during their concerts. Directionality works well, placing all the bizarre sounds in their proper places in the soundfield. Dialogue is clear. There are a few scenes where whispers come across a little too quiet. Surrounds don't have much to do here, but you'll be able to hear some faint claps behind you during concerts and some quietly audible voices as people mill about, discussing different pieces of art in the gallery. Just like the video, the audio here isn't anything to get excited about, but it doesn't disappoint either.
There are no special features on this disc.
'(untitled)' offers a humorous look into the utterly insane, backwards world of art and the egos that populate it. Nothing has value unless it's perceived by the masses to have worth, and even then, that value is only manufactured by the controversy surrounding whatever the artist did. Usually the most grotesque, weird piece becomes the most coveted. Actual, sellable art is considered beneath the real artists who create because that's all their tortured minds can do. Audio and video are what you'd expect for a small, low-budget film. This comes with a rental recommendation, since even though I enjoyed the movie, there's not much in it that will bring me back for a second viewing.