Quantcast

Game Night (Blu-ray Review)

Amid the triumphant box office phenomenon that was Black Panther, we witnessed many would-be blockbusters falter of produce average/underwhelming results. However, there were some solid counter-programming hits during that run. One of those was the R-rated adult comedy-mystery Game Night.  Taking the silver to Black Panther its opening weekend, the film made a solid run with good holds to work its way to over $116 million for the $37 million budgeted comedy. While a decent hit, its getting passed over for the 4K Ultra-HD format for a standard Blu-ray. This movie does lend itself to many of pros that would have come with the format, but this is otherwise fine. I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets one down the road sometime when producing the discs is a little cheaper. For now you can grab this stnadard Blu-ray. by clicking the Amazon link following the review.

Film 

Max and Annie’s weekly game night gets kicked up a notch when Max’s brother Brooks arranges a murder mystery party — complete with fake thugs and federal agents. So when Brooks gets kidnapped, it’s all supposed to be part of the game. As the competitors set out to solve the case, they start to learn that neither the game nor Brooks are what they seem to be. The friends soon find themselves in over their heads as each twist leads to another unexpected turn over the course of one chaotic night.

Game Night brings forth mystery and comedy with a solid structure that allows for its main players to flourish and take control of the film to many degrees of success. Its a rather perfect date night film for couples or more likely one for parents to grab a babysitter for the evening. Granted, too late for that, as we are now in the home video stage, but one can easily see why this one had some solid holds as word of mouth was likely solid among that kind of crowd.

Its easy to take note of the cast, but the group really does gel quite well in terms of dramatic and comedic chops, altogether or in their pairings. Jason Bateman is one of our stars and we get what Jason Bateman is good at delivering. What I really enjoy about the film is that he takes on the straight man role which really allows both Rachel McAdams and Kyle Chandler to show off comedic chops we’ve seen them have in doses but get unleashed within this movie. McAdams is having an absolute blast and able to topple over silly while never going overboard. Normally reduced to funny guy’s girlfriend, she now gets to step and be that funny person. Oh and yes, Jesse Plemons is quite the crowd pleaser and scene stealer in a role only he could make so fun.

The biggest surprise of Game Night that came for me wasn’t in any twist or turn or eye opening joke. It came in the form of the camera work and direction for the film. For a comedy, this film has a real look to it and a unique visualization that elevates it beyond “random solid spring comedy” to “will watch again, not even for jokes” because of how nifty much of this played out. There are some really cool touches in car chases, low-key suspense moments and a kind of single shot escape from a mansion. Also, the way they shoot some of the travel and exteriors to make the world look like a little board game and pieces is both fascinating and charming. Currently, these helmers are attached to do The Flash and I say, lets take what you did in Game Night and keep exploring it!

I expected to have some solid fun with Game Night, but wound up finding much more to it technically than just as solid comedic escape. Sure, some of the things are done in other genres, but to see them make it effortlessly and naturally work in the confines of this comedy felt fresh and separate from many others. The suspense and action actually worked for me as much, if not maybe a hair more than the humor even. I can say I found the comedy to be next level or anything, but working in conjunction with other factors; outline, twists, action directing, cast chemistry and more, Game Night came as enjoyment from areas I wasn’t expecting.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Game Night debuts on Blu-ray with a terrific transfer of the digital shot movie. Details come quite strong in any given lighting circumstances with texture proving pretty abundant. The image is a good, sharp crisp one. As mentioned in the review, its surprisingly got a nice style to it and there’s a surreal aesthetic on display the comes across very well in this picture.

Depth:  Pretty strong depth of field here, especially during many of the establishing shots that make neighborhoods or driving around town look like game pieces. Interiors showcase a decent and efficient pushback look. Movements are natural and smooth with minimal distortion.

Black Levels: Blacks are solid, keeping detail and showcasing no real signs of crushing, which is good because the majority of this film is either outside at night or lurking in dark interiors.

Color Reproduction: There are plenty of glowing colors that emanate off the screen with a rich look to them. Most of the colors are pretty strong with an even playing field in terms of natural appeal and strength.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent throughout the film. Facial features showcase very strong prominent detail in close ups and do a more than solid job in medium shots.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Latin America) 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish (Latin America)

Dynamics: Game Night is honestly pretty enhanced in the experience by its 5.1 track. Its loud (The anti-Disney, you may want to turn it down from your normal listening default) and really puts you in the place of the action. Depth intricacies on the special effects really make for a special viewing. The sounds are distinct and done for both natural effect and played for the theatrics as well. It comes together in a nice balanced mix that also finds the films score being showcased well throughout.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer gives some good pounding to things being hit with a fire extinguisher, gunshots, crashes, engines and more.

Surround Sound Presentation: The track is really playful and adds life to the mix by placing plenty of unique sounds behind the viewer and centralizing locations to lock in on particular speakers at many times. Movements finds great accuracy and fun throughout the film.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp, audible yet natural through any loud environment.

Extras 

Game Night comes with the DVD edition and a digital copy.

An Unforgettable Evening: Making Game Night (HD, 3:48) – A relatively simple and all too quick EPK for the film.

Gag Reel (HD, 6:48)

Summary 

Game Night is some really solid fun with a surprisingly innovative sense of craftsmanship for a comedy. Its Blu-ray release features a top notch performance from both its audio and video perspectives. Unfortunately the extras on here are very throwaway and pretty much worthless. The movie is strong enough to easily warrant a solid purchase at a good sale price.

Share

Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

  1. No Comments