BD 76 Computer Chess

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swo17
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Re: MoC: Cheapest Prices/Best Places to Buy/Pre-Orders/Deals

#26 Post by swo17 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:06 pm

neilist wrote:Limited 'Computer Chess' Quad poster up on http://www.eurekavideo.co.uk/offers/new.html.

100 copies available, each individually numbered. Not cheap.
I'm not seeing it.

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neilist
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Re: MoC: Cheapest Prices/Best Places to Buy/Pre-Orders/Deals

#27 Post by neilist » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:09 pm

swo17 wrote:I'm not seeing it.
Try hitting F5 or Crtl+F5?

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swo17
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Re: MoC: Cheapest Prices/Best Places to Buy/Pre-Orders/Deals

#28 Post by swo17 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:12 pm

That worked. And wow, not cheap is right!

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tenia
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Re: Forthcoming: Computer Chess

#29 Post by tenia » Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:07 am

I saw the price after thinking "wow, that would be nice along the other 3 Quad posters they did".
Then I saw the price and, well, my 3 quad posters won't get a new friend.

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rockysds
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Re: Forthcoming: Computer Chess

#30 Post by rockysds » Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:12 pm

Amazon listing - January 20th
The fourth feature film from the brilliant and maverick American filmmaker Andrew Bujalski, whose previous works include Funny Ha Ha (the early 00s film that arguably kicked-off the so-called "mumblecore" movement of American independent cinema), Mutual Appreciation (an acclaimed comic portrait of love and longing in the Brooklyn indie music scene), and Beeswax (which among its principals starred Alex Karpovsky, the filmmaker and actor who has gone on to renown for his own comedy features and his role in Lena Dunham s Girls).

A boldly intelligent ensemble comedy with a feel and atmosphere that surpass easy comparison, Computer Chess takes place in the early-1980s over the course of a weekend conference where a group of obsessive software programmers have convened to pit their latest refinements in machine-chess and the still-developing field of artificial intelligence (AI) against an assembly of human chess masters. Computer Chess is a portrait not only of the crazy and surreal relationships that come to pass between the abundance of characters who participate in the weekend event (and among whose ranks include Wiley Wiggins, the revered indie-game developer and star of Richard Linklater s classic Dazed and Confused), but of the very era of early computing itself - and of the first, rudimentary video games - and (if that weren t enough) of the hopes and insecurities that persisted through the film s "retro" digital age into the present-day - that semi-virtual, hyper-social, maybe-kind-of-dehumanised landscape that, let s face it, is our very own era. If that still weren t enough: it s also one of the wittiest, most shift-and-cringe-in-your-seat, and entirely LOL-hilarious movies of recent times.

With its radical retro video aesthetic and wry rumination on digitality and where-we-are-today, Computer Chess is a far-reaching and ambitious benchmark for the modern American cinema. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Andrew Bujalski's Computer Chess in its UK home-viewing debut in a Dual Format (Blu-ray + DVD) release.

SPECIAL FEATURES

1080p presentation of the feature film on the Blu-ray
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Two trailers for the film
Andrew Bujalski's short 2013 film Analog Goose
New and exclusive video interviews with Bujalski, actor Wiley Wiggins, and producer Alex Lipschultz
56-PAGE FULL-COLOUR BOOKLET featuring a new essay by Craig Keller; a discussion on retro gaming with Wiley Wiggins; a profile on cover artist (and original Atari 2600 packaging artist) Cliff Spohn; a plethora of full-colour photography from the set; and more!

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swo17
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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#31 Post by swo17 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:33 pm

Some pedantic thoughts: Great that 2013's blip of no dual formats seems to be behind us. Less enthused about "LOL" being used in the movie blurb.

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EddieLarkin
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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#32 Post by EddieLarkin » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:51 pm

Beaver

I guess it's more "true" to the director's vision, but the limitations of the source are more noticeable on the Blu-ray, especially due to the interlacing.

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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#33 Post by shaky » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:56 pm

Does the 1080i image mean that many of us here in the US won't be able to play this baby?

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swo17
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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#34 Post by swo17 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:04 pm

1080i won't present any problems. Extras on Blu-rays are frequently presented that way. Also, the director went out of his way for there to be limitations in the source material, so I don't see how them being more noticeable is an issue. I'm sure the Blu-ray looks closer to the theatrical experience than you'd get from watching the DVD.

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EddieLarkin
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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#35 Post by EddieLarkin » Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:13 pm

Yeah, it's almost certainly 1080i60 due to it having the same run time as the Kino. Americans only have difficulty playing 1080i50.
swo17 wrote:Also, the director went out of his way for there to be limitations in the source material, so I don't see how them being more noticeable is an issue. I'm sure the Blu-ray looks closer to the theatrical experience than you'd get from watching the DVD.
Maybe. It was shot interlaced, but is there such a thing as interlaced DCP?

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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#36 Post by David M. » Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:02 pm

I guess it's more "true" to the director's vision, but the limitations of the source are more noticeable on the Blu-ray, especially due to the interlacing.
There's quite a bit of misunderstanding re what interlacing actually is. In many cases it's an annoyance to be gotten rid of, but in the case of Computer Chess it's a fundamental part of the picture. It's how it was shot.

The DVDBeaver page has the two interlaced fields shown in a progressive frame which is normal for taking screen grabs of interlaced content. When you play the disc, though, your BD player (or TV) will deinterlace the 60 fields per second to 60 frames per second. Meaning that you see the fluid motion, video camera look. You won't see any combing on playback because the BD player and/or TV knows what type of signal it's dealing with and acts accordingly.
Does the 1080i image mean that many of us here in the US won't be able to play this baby?
No. It's 1080i 60hz, which is the US system and will play worldwide.
is there such a thing as interlaced DCP?
No, all DCP content is progressive. I imagine (but don't quote me on this) that the DCP would be converted to 24fps via frame blending. Basically a standards conversion.

In this regard, the Blu-ray version will actually give you a picture truer to the video source.

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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#37 Post by EddieLarkin » Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:28 pm

Thanks David, that makes perfect sense.

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manicsounds
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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#38 Post by manicsounds » Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:32 am

'Computer Chess' DP Tours the Totally Tubular Sony AVC-3260 Vacuum Tube Camera

An issue about the extras though:
Watching the Masters Of Cinema produced interview with the director, and it looks and feels professional at first, good lighting and framing. But then the interviewer Craig Keller starts asking questions, but he is barely audible. If that was the case, then why not do what Criterion or others do, by adding title cards of the questions? Also, at one point the camera guy starts readjusting the frame and focus, which just looked very unprofessional. Why leave that in? And suddenly around 15 minutes in, the picture cuts out to black. What happened? Pressed the off button by mistake?

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RossyG
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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#39 Post by RossyG » Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:52 am

manicsounds wrote:But then the interviewer Craig Keller starts asking questions, but he is barely audible.
And barely coherent. He rambles on, abandoning sentences halfway through. The interviewee guesses what he is asking and is ready to answer, but there's still a few more lines of waffle to come.

As for the film itself, I found it a bit underwhelming. It was like watching a student film shot on handheld video. Had I been the teacher grading it, I'd have overlooked the mostly dull acting (one decent performance; the rest very wooden), but still been forced to award a mere C- as it was never boring as such, but nothing really happened and it appeared to make no point whatsoever.

Unusual, and therefore watchable, but no more.

That's a purely subjective opinion, by the way. I'm not trying to pick a fight with those who liked it. :)

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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#40 Post by Emak-Bakia » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:34 pm

manicsounds wrote:And suddenly around 15 minutes in, the picture cuts out to black. What happened? Pressed the off button by mistake?
Maybe they burnt out the camera tube by pointing it at the sun! I haven't seen the interview, but it sounds to me like it's possible that the piece's style could be intended to imitate the aesthetic of Andrew Bujalski's films. This is, after all, the same filmmaker who has included commentaries from a "Russian scholar" (Funny Ha Ha) and an "enthusiastic stoner" (Computer Chess) on two of his DVDs, so clearly he likes to have fun with the special features.

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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#41 Post by manicsounds » Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:10 pm

This is where the power of editing comes handy. If picture is lost or you're adjusting the camera during the interview, cut that stuff out and replace it with movie stills. Instead of rambling questions that are hard to hear for the home audience since there was no microphone, use a stillframe of the question or cut it completely.

They are good interviews, but could have benefited from some simple editing. (The worst Eureka! video interview offender is still the "Guilty Of Romance" 40 minute interview)

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Re: The Films of 2013

#42 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Feb 23, 2014 4:54 pm

Black Hat wrote:
Jeff wrote:I think the digressions and wonky narrative may have been the point, which may have been somewhat lost on me.
Agreed. Ultimately I didn't see it so much as being about computers or chess but rather about the cast of characters one would find at a hotel in the early 80s. And like you said the use of the low-fi cameras along with the sparse sound design, the editing of the film and excellent costuming really gave it a charm.
Major spoliers:

"Can you try making a move on your own? Don't use STASIA. Can you do your own move?"

I really enjoyed Computer Chess a whole lot, and think it really works if you see it as a kind of Robert Altman film just with a cast of social introverts! There's lots of Altman-esque overlapping dialogue, meandering conversations (and kind of rudely interrupting characters!), and the whole film is set inside a particular milieu gathering a bunch of disparate characters together around one subject and forcing them to awkwardly interact.

I particularly liked the contrast with the glitzier (or as glitzy as a conference room chess tournament can get!) public sessions contrasted against more intimate hotel room based chess sessions that involve a much deeper meeting of minds and a real delving into the inner workings of the machines in a way that is not allowed on the conference room floor itself. Indeed the public tournament also feels gently satirical in an Altman-esque way with the collapsing posters, the computer problems and the rather arrogant and officious human grandmaster who is hosting the proceedings all seeming to work against an efficient and professional tournament. But those moments are also adding the human dimension which everyone involved appears to be trying to compute out of the equation! (I particularly like the scene in the final computer vs computer match in which the two human opponents are completely reduced to simply adjuncts of the machine - just needed for their hands to physically move the pieces according to the calculations by each computer - and end up simply making small talk about what their hotel rooms were like and getting print outs of the moves while the machines get on with the 'tension' of the actual match!)

I like that there is that contradiction between the intellectual intelligence of the computer programmers and the way that they are literally trying to programme themselves out of the chess match entirely! None of the characters ever really become self aware enough to confront that issue head on, but it is the main theme of the whole film. The film seems about the contradictions of collaboration versus competition (that these computers were programmed by people working together in teams, but the only way to prove themselves is to fight other teams for dominance!) and also about adaptability versus rigid thinking especially in the sections surrounding the TSAR 3.0 team (the main one focused on in the film) and the reaction to having tested out their chess programme against a human competitor (and it being successful) being in a way supressed because it wasn't done through the proper channels, involved a member of another team and didn't fit in with the team captain's plans to use this particular tournament as a testing ground to collect data to put into practice in a more important future international tournament.

Those two 'versus' themes get elaborated on through all of the ensemble cast of characters, and I especially liked the ever present threat of sex throughout, from the confrontational Papageorge who ends up not having a hotel room and having to move from room to room throughout the weekend, being stalked by ever increasing amounts of unwanted pussy(cats) (with the brilliantly funny pay off slide in the final summing up press conference), to the constant slightly embarrassing highlighting that "We have a girl chess player at our tournament! Over there in the corner!" (with a similarly funny moment in the summing up conference when the team is brought out to the front to accept their award and all the announcer can think is to announce "This is the team with the girl!" while the camera singles her out smiling awkwardly!).

And especially the theme of sex gets shown through the problems surrounding having to share a conference room with a kind of tantric sex group who are doing obscene things with loaves of bread when we get introduced to them! This bunch of characters are where the film gets a little broad, but I think the film accommodates them well enough, and they are responsible for some of the most hilarious moments in the film, particularly the 'rebirthing' scene that one of our chess tournament attendees gets put through! Leading to the fantastic line later on "I wonder how much people pay for that conference anyway? At least I got my catharsis for free".

And then there is that hilarious scene in which what has come to become the primary character that we follow in the film gets seduced by a pair of the swinging tantric sex couples into entering their hotel room. The brilliantly oblique-yet-blunt way the couple start propositioning the guy into a threesome by declaring how smart he is but how 'being smart isn't everything, sometimes you have to indulge in other pleasures, you know? Wink, wink?' is hilarious!

I particularly love the way that the wife tries to denigrate chess by talking about how rigid and limiting the chess board is, only to have her argument subverted by the chap talking about the variety of different possible moves in a game meaning that there are limitless possibilities afforded by chess! The hilarious part of that is not so much the way that he unwittingly turns the tables on the couple but the way that during his enthusiastic explanation of the joy of chess the couples faces just drop in identical expressions of grumpy boredom, as if thinking "why can't we just get to the shagging already"!

That I think is getting to the core of the mind versus body split in the film, yet extremes one way or the other are shown to be problematic in their own way. The sex obsessed couple aren't particularly attractive, and their lack of interest in the transcendent potential of chess itself undermines their involvement in whatever their conference group is searching for through the physical rather than the intellectual. Instead it suggests that they are using their own conference as about little more than just going to a different kind of swingers party!

Yet that chap, despite fleeing the room soon afterwards (suggesting that saying "we're old enough to be your parents" doesn't really work as a chat up line!), finds it impossible to speak to "the only girl chess player in the tournament!" and ends up hiring the prostitute. Yet is that itself just a wish fulfilment fantasy, given that she removes a hairpiece to reveal a mechanical slot in her head in the final moment of the scene?

Talking of that scene also reminds me to say that this film is full of some beautiful imagery, often accentuated by the messy, grainy, glitchy video. I particularly like the way in that final scene in the hotel room as the prostitute disrobes before him we have the just as breathtaking shot of the guy's head in the very bottom righthand corner of the screen with a vast blank expanse of the white wall behind him. Although it is not completely blank - there is a faint dark rectangular mark on the wall that suggests a picture once hung there and was removed to leave an empty space behind.

And that final shot of the long-threatened obliteration is perfect!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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manicsounds
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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#43 Post by manicsounds » Mon Feb 24, 2014 5:16 am

What's with the "COPYRIGHT VIOLATION WARNING! COPYRIGHT VIOLATION WARNING!" sound that pops up at the beginning and near the end of the stoner commentary? Creeped me out the first time I was listening to it.

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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#44 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:01 pm

Thanks for the warning manicsounds, that warning was a bit jarring compared to the rest of the commentary. Perhaps that's just the sound that plays whenever anyone starts singing Joni Mitchell songs without the proper authorisation!

I liked both the commentaries - I found the Deep Blue programmer's comments more interesting but then I did also find the stoner commentary very amusing too, especially finding out that he shared my own reveries about overhead projectors (or OHPs as all of us cool kids call them) with their acetate slides that I remember being fascinated with during my own school days! Ah, just seeing the turning blades of the fan on the machine takes me back to the halcyon days of 1994 French GCSE class, finding out exactly what items that Pierre was having to purchase from the charcuterie! Somehow PowerPoint presentations, despite being far better and more practical in all ways, just don't seem to have the same romantic quality that having to swap the transparent slides over did! (I could also bore you all to tears with similar comparisons between blackboards and whiteboards!)

The stoner commentary also pointed out the weird stretchy and disappearing clock in the bar scene, which I hadn't noticed before! And I suppose that if you had been through all of the experiences that that gentleman had been through, especially the stuff involving playacting as a duck ("the only thing I learnt was pick an animal that stands on two legs, so your knees don't get sore"), I can understand why getting stoned would seem as valid a way of getting through life as anything else! Though the strange narrative of Computer Chess would seem to be a problematic film to be high whilst watching, and I did want to tell the guy that he wasn't missing much in the conversations that he was having trouble following! The commentary was worth it for his reaction to the shot of the roomful of cats though!

That commentary also drove my cat wild in trying to figure out where all of the meowing was coming from!

Anyway, I like to think of that commentary as a combination of the Michael Palin 'commentary for lonely people' on Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (i.e. the commentary that involves Palin pottering about in the background, ordering a pizza, eating it, having a beer, singing along with the musical numbers in the film, chuckling absently about the jokes...and then becoming the subject of a police sting operation cracking down on illegal film distribution before the end of the film!) and the Ralph Spaulding interviewer on the Beastie Boys Anthology commentaries (with insightful questions such as "so,um....what are you wearing?").

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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#45 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:56 am

manicsounds wrote:This is where the power of editing comes handy. If picture is lost or you're adjusting the camera during the interview, cut that stuff out and replace it with movie stills. Instead of rambling questions that are hard to hear for the home audience since there was no microphone, use a stillframe of the question or cut it completely.

They are good interviews, but could have benefited from some simple editing.
I understand what you mean about the interviews manicsounds, and I wonder if the problem with the interview comes down to something as simple as a semantic difference between the disc producers wanting an 'interview' versus a 'conversation'. The Bujalski and Wiggins pieces (the producer interview doesn't have an off-camera interviewer) are filmed like a straight to camera interview, but then an off-screen questioner comes in to converse with them, with suggests to me that the pieces would have worked better as 'conversations' with Craig Keller actually on screen, properly mic'd (though it wasn't too difficult to make out what he was saying) and talking with Bujalski or Wiggins direct. Particularly for the Bujalski interview as there is a lot of personal interaction between Keller and Bujalski during that piece.

Having said all that (and despite the brief camera shutdown!) I thought all three interviews were excellent, particularly Wiggins going into his thoughts on artificial intelligence, being embarrassed about the early 90s 'cyberspace' films and acting as a kind of computer consultant for Computer Chess, searching out the computer equipment on display and helping to keep it running; and Lipshultz talking about the difficulties of getting the period camera equipment to work!

Here's a clip from The Perkins Family that Wiggins mentioned in his interview, one of his early roles in a series where all the roles were played by kids! There is another brief clip here and Wiggins has put a few more on YouTube.

Also, I've just found out that Bujalski was an assistant editor on that interesting commune documentary The Same River Twice. I wonder if the experience of working on that film fed into the encounter group here!

I also want to put in a word of appreciation for the "8 reference games for Computer Chess" extra, which is 45 minutes showing all the moves from eight computer vs computer or computer vs human games, up to the Gary Kasparov against Deep Blue match, introduced with a bit of context. This was exactly the kind of extra that I had wanted that Bobby Fischer Against The World documentary to have included either in the film itself or as an on disc extra, and while I would have been even happier if this piece were longer and went into a play-by-play of the moves more, this was an extremely valuable inclusion on the disc.

On that note, I haven't really researched it too much but does anyone here know of a good YouTube (or other) channel that would show chess games with commentary? Computer, human or live tournament stuff: I'm not picky, just curious!

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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#46 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:23 am

colinr0380 wrote:On that note, I haven't really researched it too much but does anyone here know of a good YouTube (or other) channel that would show chess games with commentary? Computer, human or live tournament stuff: I'm not picky, just curious!
Answering my own question, I've just found out that The Master Game, a chess series that ran on the BBC for seven series between 1976 and 1982 has been partially released on DVD. Only series 6 and series 7, but at least it is better than nothing!

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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#47 Post by CSM126 » Sat Oct 18, 2014 8:06 pm

Finally watched this today and loved it because it's not only hilarious - it's flat out fucking terrifying. It's like some David Lynch nightmare version of a mockumentary. There's a constant sense of dread, heightened by those video glitches that seem to reveal something hidden in the tape, and the unsettling use of audio misalignment in several spots. It just feels unreal in a creepy way. The color sequence is when I really lost it, though. That freaked me out and the rest of the movie from then on is intense. There's stuff to laugh at throughout, but the overall feel of the movie is like an especially bad trip (which maybe explains the stoner commentary gag). I felt completely fried for hours afterward and going out into the full-color world was weird after spending time in this surreal black and white blur.

I don't even know how to classify this other than to say it's just plain brilliant.

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Re: MoC: Cheapest Prices/Best Places to Buy/Pre-Orders/Deals

#48 Post by Raymond Marble » Sat May 02, 2015 12:58 pm

swo17 wrote:
neilist wrote:Limited 'Computer Chess' Quad poster up on http://www.eurekavideo.co.uk/offers/new.html.

100 copies available, each individually numbered. Not cheap.
I'm not seeing it.
Sorry to quote such an old post, but I just imported the MoC blu-ray of this (I hesitated for a while given that I already owned the U.S. Kino DVD, and I'm in the U.S.), and was reading up on this release. Was the quad poster referenced above the same as the cover art for the blu-ray? And how much was it, anyway, does anyone remember? The link is now dead (logical enough, since the above posts are from a year and a half ago), which no amount of F5ing seems to fix.

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neilist
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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#49 Post by neilist » Sat May 02, 2015 1:14 pm

Raymond Marble wrote:
swo17 wrote:
neilist wrote:Limited 'Computer Chess' Quad poster up on http://www.eurekavideo.co.uk/offers/new.html.

100 copies available, each individually numbered. Not cheap.
I'm not seeing it.
Sorry to quote such an old post, but I just imported the MoC blu-ray of this (I hesitated for a while given that I already owned the U.S. Kino DVD, and I'm in the U.S.), and was reading up on this release. Was the quad poster referenced above the same as the cover art for the blu-ray? And how much was it, anyway, does anyone remember? The link is now dead (logical enough, since the above posts are from a year and a half ago), which no amount of F5ing seems to fix.
Yeah, the artwork was the same as that used on the MoC release. It can be seen here.

The link was to the old Eureka site, which is why it won't work now. I don't think they've ever put posters up for sale on their new site, so there's a chance the still have some remaining and it may be worth emailing them. I can't remember how much it was, somewhere between £50-£100 I think...

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Re: BD 76 Computer Chess

#50 Post by George Drooly » Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:05 am

I disliked Bujalski's earlier films, so it took me a while to get around to this, despite my interest in the subject matter and my being old enough to have lived through the era represented and been around a lot of the tech and the business. I loved it, and think it's one of the most slyly intelligent and ambitious (and knowingly funny without being condescending) science fiction films of this century.

It's curious how this kind of deceptively small SF film seems to be the mode for the more successful attempts at the genre of late. This, Primer, Her, Upstream Color all seem very intimate, even minor, but each have subtle, often inexplicit moments, or a succession of moments, where the themes bloom in your mind and there are implications of humanity being irrevocably altered.

I watched Bujalski's follow-up Results shortly after, and loved it as well, though I think it's a lesser film, perhaps by design. Always loved Kevin Corrigan and Guy Pearce, and they were smartly used here. All the negative reviews seem to harp on the film's lack of "structure" or "plot" but this is the first romantic comedy I've seen in maybe decades that interested me, precisely because of its storyline's openness and lack of resolution, while maintaining thematic concerns.

Very fascinating to see someone so associated with "mumblecore" take such ambitious formal and thematic steps with his last couple films. I hate to say that's what makes these last two films better than his earlier ones, but there's something to be said for meeting film history halfway.

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