Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Computer Chess (2013)

Director: Andrew Bujalski

Writer: Andrew Bujalski

Starring: Patrick Riester, Myles Paige, James Curry, Robin Schwartz, Gerald Peary, Wiley Wiggins, Gordon Kindlmann

More info: IMDb

Tagline: An artificially intelligent comedy from the director of Funny Ha Ha and Mutual Appreciation.

Plot: 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.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.

What a truly unique film, not for the subject matter but the whole package.  It's got the funny, intrigue, romance (well, sort of), computers and chess!  It's the sexy underworld of the early days of computers against man in a competition that will have only one victor and a room full of losers.  OK, it's not as crazy dramatic as that but it's good and it does have all of those elements.  The neat thing is how it was filmed.  It really does look and (mostly) feel like it was shot in the early 80s.  It's remarkable how well made it is.  There are a small handful of moments that don't make it as authentic as it's pretending to be but it doesn't matter.  It's such an achievement in its own right.  The actors are superb and they nail the different types they're playing.  The clothing and everything else is very well handled.  I would've been around 13 at the time this takes place and I can recall the feeling for so much of what's in the film but not on a chess weekend at a hotel.  It's more of a time thing.  It's a fun and neat film that has a few laughs and you'll be rewarded with a naked woman if you stick around until the end.  That's the sexy side of computer chess for ya!  I caught this on Netflix last year but I'd love to see a DVD with lots of extras.  The behind the scenes stuff and a commentary track would be fun to go through.

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