Home-style sci-fi about the rise of the nerds, and easily the best time you will have watching black and white video-quality footage on the big screen this year. Also, quite possibly the feel-icky movie of the summer. Computer Chess tells the story of an early-'80s computer chess convention in San Diego, a convention that is being thoroughly video-documented for some reason, and attended by mysterious figures for some other reason, and sharing space with a lovey-touchy-spiritualist retreat to boot. The chess isn't the point: humanity vs. technology is the point. (Or rather, humanity interfacing with technology, blending with technology, succumbing to technology.) But there is chess, and there is strategy, and there is both heady victory and crushing defeat for the nerds, who flirt and drink and shoot the breeze just like real people. The story gathers and loses and regathers steam, but still manages to earn its unsettling revelations. (2013) — Matthew Lickona
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