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Review: Andrew Bujalski's 'Computer Chess'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • July 19, 2013 10:01 AM
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The first thought upon sitting down for “Computer Chess” might be one of snobby resistance. Director Andrew Bujalski has been credited as the godfather of mumblecore, a movement that has produced a number of interesting pictures but one that still invites scorn for supposedly lowering the discourse of independent filmmaking. As usual, here he’s working with a collection of non-actors, though they may be the least photogenic bunch he’s ever shot: there’s certainly no one as bewitching as “Funny Ha Ha” star Kate Dollenmayer, or even as intriguingly polysexual as Alex Karpovsky in “Beeswax.” It’s a period picture taking place in 1980 and the film is shot on video using the technology of that era, giving the picture a fuzzy cable access look. Movie tickets cost a lot of money so when you see a visual like that, there’s a tendency to blanch, but what does it mean that with all those ingredients, “Computer Chess” might be the most charmingly entertaining, funniest movie of the summer?

Andrew Bujalski Crowd-Funding His Next Film, The 1980s-Set 'Computer Chess'

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • July 29, 2011 2:33 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Though he's cited as the "godfather" of the mumblecore movement, very rarely will you hear the films of Andrew Bujalski being discussed or written about. The Bostonian's three fantastic, cream-of-the-crop features unfortunately get the short straw when it comes to conversation and respect; instead, film critics spend time writing overwrought dissertations on third-rate mumblies or one of the twelve Joe Swanberg movies that are in production per season. In 2009, the filmmaker dropped "Beeswax," a quiet yet oddly tense story about twin sisters, one of which is getting wrapped up in legal troubles. Unlike his brood, Bujalski has the patience to let things slowly compile while also devising some very uncomfortable, awkward moments of humanity. Yes, there's quite a bit of talking, but there's always something more going on on his actors' faces, particularly in their eyes: he knows how to use the in-between still moments, something crucial that's often missing in the rest of these micro-indies.

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