Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Computer Chess - Review

Plot: At a hotel in the 1980's, a large group of computer programmers, all toting their constructed chess-playing machines, compete in a tournament to determine who has the best software and possibly able to finally beat a human opponent. Gimmick: COMPUTER CHESS was crafted by mumblecore director Andrew Bujalski, who chose to use tube-based, B&W video cameras of the era, in order to give the film authenticity and a surreal bent. Analysis: I just don't get it. The film starts off like a mockumentary, following the dullard host before moving on to the individual groups and their programs. Next thing you know it, cats are roaming all over the hotel, a new age couple want to have a quasi-incestuous threesome with one of the mains, a scene shot on color film pops up, and it ends with a flat reveal. Though the cast is well-suited and easily bring the nervousness of their characters, the film is never funny. Bujalski makes a few noteworthy inventions, playing with the meta through on-screen computer read-outs, but his gags often fizzle out and his experimental take on the plot is highly grating. Unless you care for the peculiar or can somehow stomach mumblecore, the winning move is to not hit play.


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