For Reel


Results (2015)
June 10, 2015, 12:20 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Andrew Bujalski
3.5 Stars
ResultsMuch like his masterpiece Computer Chess, Andrew Bujalski’s Results at first seems formless and meandering, as if trying to discover the point of it all as it’s progressing. In the end, it’s evidently a modern response to the comedy of remarriage, and the deliberation with which the pieces have been aligned becomes clear. Such is the genius of Bujalski, who as a writer is capable of creating stories that feel organic even within a highly calibrated form. As a visual stylist, he shoots much of Results in long and medium shots–the close-ups, which so prevail in contemporary romantic comedies, are held for private moments, suggesting the interiority of an individual rather than trying to force a connection between two characters. When a night of drunken, stoned debauchery escalates into a surprising plot development, it feels spontaneous and true. Had it been cut in a style to manufacture a sense of sexual tension, it would have fallen apart entirely. Letting moments like those play out in the frame makes Bujalski an excellent actor’s director, and in this instance he’s assembled an impressive cast of underappreciated talents. Guy Pearce wisely doesn’t cheapen his character’s self-help ethos by underlining his hypocrisies (he’s more vulnerable than he may let on, but he’s not a fraud), and Kevin Corrigan plays his depressed loner with just the right amount of wit and amusement.



Computer Chess (2013)
November 17, 2013, 10:51 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Andrew Bujalski
5 Stars
Computer ChessDeceptively simple, director Andrew Bujalski’s latest comedy is among the most philosophically dense and aesthetically inventive American indies in recent years. The film is set in a motel in the early 1980s where a number of computer programmers are staging a tournament to find the most effective chess-playing software. Furthering the period detail beyond the retro computers, embarrassing haircuts, and Coke-bottle glasses, Bujalski shot the film almost exclusively on retro video cameras that render the events in blurry, washed-out grays. What initially seems like a Christopher Guest inspired comedy eventually becomes something more complex, not so much about artificial intelligence but about thinking and existing itself. The beauty of the film, however, is that Bujalski is never bogged down with his heady existentialist themes–this is not a film with a thesis with a capital T. Instead, it’s a film of both wry and mystifying observations, one that playfully unravels and gradually seems to gain its own sense of consciousness and logic as it progresses. Famed film critic Gerry Peary has a supporting role that generates the biggest laughs.