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Computer Chess


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Product Details

  • Actors: Wiley Wiggins
  • Directors: Andrew Bujalski
  • Format: Multiple Formats, 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 (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00EO2I6PQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,627 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

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.

Review

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

Customer Reviews

Maybe I am just missing the point of the movie or something.
Darryl
Personally, I love visual hints in the photography of films rather than being written out before me through obvious dialogue.
Dan Barbazette
A group of nerds have developed software programs, which they pit against one another over games of chess.
Turfseer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dan D. on October 13, 2013
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Turfseer on January 19, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
*** 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 the raunchy conversations between the games' participants, for most of the night. With a little editing, I mind's well submit this old tape to the Sundance Festival. Given the current mindset of most film critics today, with their preening and slavish devotion to anything in the least nostalgic, I might have a good chance of winning some kind of award.

I can find no other explanation as to why the critics were taken in by 'Computer Chess', except for this love of nostalgia. Certainly it's not the Computer Chess plot that is at all engaging; creator Andrew Bujalski saw to that. But what he did do was shot the film on the old Portapak cameras, giving one the impression that this mockumentary, about a computer chess convention, actually took place in the early 1980s. As we gaze up on the screen, we see that Bujalski mimics old video--the dimensions aren't large enough to fill the entire theater screen (just like my old 1984 video appears, when I play it back on my computer today). Bujalski also populates the screen with images of beloved old computers and text from word processors, which none of us have seen in decades.

So it's a sort of hypnotism that's going on here. It doesn't really matter what happens as far as the story is concerned. It's a meandering affair, where we can get the basic idea in the first fifteen minutes. Think 'The Big Bang Theory' meets 'Bobby Fischer'. A group of nerds have developed software programs, which they pit against one another over games of chess.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dan Barbazette on October 12, 2013
Format: DVD
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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