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Computer Chess (2013)

Wiley Wiggins , Andrew Bujalski  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Computer Chess + Frances Ha (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Wiley Wiggins
  • Directors: Andrew Bujalski
  • Format: Anamorphic, Black & White, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber
  • DVD Release Date: November 5, 2013
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00EO2I6PQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,349 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


Computer Chess struck me as the movie most perfectly made for the hardest core nerds among us. --Monty Cristo, Ain't It Cool News

Product Description

Set over the course of a weekend tournament for chess software programmers thirty-some years ago, COMPUTER CHESS transports viewers to a nostalgic moment when the contest between technology and the human spirit seemed a little more up for grabs. We get to know the eccentric geniuses possessed of the vision to teach a metal box to defeat man, literally, at his own game, laying the groundwork for artificial intelligence as we know it and will come to know it in the future.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun and quirky movie October 13, 2013
By Dan D.
Format:Amazon Instant Video
I saw this movie with my girlfriend at the screening in Tallahassee, just around the corner from Florida State University. I'm a lifelong computer nerd and Computer Science student that appreciates quirky movies, dry humor, and whatnot. I also grew up during an era of computers that came just after those depicted in this movie and so that aspect was very nostalgic for me. My girlfriend, on the other hand, isn't a computer nerd at all. So, I think the fact that we both found this movie very enjoyable and almost fell out of our chairs laughing at least once or twice makes for a pretty good vote of confidence. I admit that this one isn't for everyone but I also think that a lot of people could really enjoy the movie. It's very different but I found that quite refreshing and I think that others will as well.

I think that out of everything which I enjoyed about the movie, it was the characters that really took it home for me. They're all so different and each have their own little back story which makes for interesting interactions among the characters. I think that these back stories were developed well enough so that some of the characters really had a good sense of depth. But at the same time, this movie wasn't always about depth. A lot of it was very situational; you get to enjoy watching how the characters interact or get involved in some pretty awkward situations.

So, give it a chance. I think that you could come away very happy that you gave this somewhat "artsy" or "indy" film a chance. I know I did.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and interesting October 12, 2013
Computer Chess is one of those movies you leave thinking about for a bit afterwards. There are several parts which, to me at least, are somewhat puzzling in a good way as if there's deeper meanings. Meaning as in whatever you make of it, a style I personally love most of all in a movie experience.

The humor is quite dry and awkward, so it won't appeal to everybody, but "everybody" humor is stale and dumb; although I don't deny their funniness, I think I've had enough Sunny in Philadelphia or Family Guy-type obnoxious comedy. The performances are pretty good in a plain sort of way, as in they are acted realistically to the uber-nerdiness of the characters. Some of them feel like their just playing themselves, and they're all very lovable. Well written dialogue and direction for the actors, who pulled off quite the feat with Computer Chess' home-video feel; the movie gives a very nice documentary realism to me not only in the performances, but also the cinematography.

As an amateur B/W film photographer, I really appreciate the B/W use in Computer Chess; I absolutely adore the old-school video, which is how they shot most of the movie--a major experimental part of the film. Funny, usually experimental is synonymous with being new--avante garde--yet, for Computer Chess it is simply harkening back to long forgotten technology. Even the era of the movie also lends itself to the smart use of B/W and the movie's believability as a documentary. When there isn't B/W, or the footage quality shifts to higher resolution, cues me for a major sign of hidden meaning to theorize and decipher--another cool part of using old digital filming technique. Personally, I love visual hints in the photography of films rather than being written out before me through obvious dialogue.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of 2013's best October 12, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video
I went to see 'Computer Chess' at a theatre in Los Angeles and noticed that the filmmaker, Andrew Bujalski, was standing in the theatre's lobby, near me. I spoke w/ him briefly to tell him I was a fan of his previous films, and then he put the microphone he was using to speak before the screening to my mouth, telling me I could say whatever I wanted to, which made both of us chuckle. He smiled and shook my hand and told me he was happy I was at the screening, and then I watched the film.
It seems hard to review a movie that comes from such an intelligent, brave filmmaker. I think this movie is better than me. I felt entertained and pleasantly challenged by 'Computer Chess' throughout. The dialogue feels at once extremely realistic and 'trippy' in a powerful, totally unique way. Most scenes made me genuinely laugh b/c of the 'awkward' characters, or rendered me silent w/ awe b/c of a moment that I felt was visually stunning-- the b&w and vid camera make for, i feel, consistently stimulating visuals-- or philosophically profound. This movie felt like a masterpiece to me in the way that listening to 'OK Computer' felt like a masterpiece to me when I first heard it towards the end of 5th grade. I hope I have been successful in persuading you to watch this movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 stars only for art design February 3, 2014
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
Fantastic art design , doesn't make up for a really boring and pretentious film. This film bored me terribly.
What was with the 1980's video formatting then color sequence? So pretentious yet just plain silly. WHY????
That said the art design and costuming was spot on.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meticiulously reconstructed, slow pacing November 22, 2013
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
I get its a very careful reconstruction of a geek event in the late 70s. I get the motif of a baby picture of the PC industry, and also the references to Jobs and Gates. But the pacing is very slow, and the film often feels like its building to something that never arrives. (Although this may be intentional - perhaps the promise of technology is always promising too quickly?) Clearly a very well made film, but not my cup of tea
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Unwatchable
Shot in grainy black-and-white, the ultra-low budget "Computer Chess" is the type of movie that gives art films a bad name among audiences who never go to art films. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Roland E. Zwick
1.0 out of 5 stars Zero stars
I thought this would be a quirky documentary based on the packaging, not a fake documentary. I fast forwarded a lot. I don't even understand what it was about. Read more
Published 1 month ago by smichal
3.0 out of 5 stars If you're looking for something different . . .
I bought this DVD as a gift and watched it with them. It is an indie film with a lot of subtle messages (sometimes so subtle you don't really know what the creators are trying to... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Elizabeth Hammond
5.0 out of 5 stars What Strange Animals We Are
Set in the early 1980s, a variety of people dedicated to making computers that are as smart as humans get together at a hotel meeting room to try their chess programs against each... Read more
Published 2 months ago by KHENSE
1.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight computer nerd mockumentary, bamboozles critics, desperate...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In 1984, I was invited by a friend to a poker game, who happened to have the latest in video equipment at the time and taped all... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Turfseer
3.0 out of 5 stars I liked it better when I thought it was a documentary
It starts off as potentially a really good documentary, but there are too many places where a documentary film maker would not be, like at the rebirthing / human potential... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Margaret Bartley
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what I thought it would be at all =(
When I first heard about this movie, I thought it would be along the lines of a Christopher Guest movie. Well, I was wrong. It started out slow, and never really sped up. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Darryl
4.0 out of 5 stars Gently Humorous Look at Eighties Geeks
Set in and around a computer chess tournament in an anonymous hotel in the Eighties, COMPUTER CHESS takes a gently humorous look at a group of geeks - some of them are involved in... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dr. Laurence Raw
2.0 out of 5 stars NOT a Documentary
Amazon has this under the documentary category, but it is misplaced. I had hoped to see Claude Shannon and other computing masters back when computer chess was budding. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Joel
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lucid Meditation on Artificial Intelligence
This highly intellectual masterwork is reminiscent, unlikely as it may sound, of Apichatpong Weerasethakul's films: there's a naturalness, a quietness, a subtlety, and an... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Craig Conley
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