Game Night Blu-ray Review
They're not playing around!
Game Night Film Review
A friendly murder mystery night-style event gets out of hand in the surprisingly fun Jason Batemen / Rachel McAdams comedy, Game Night.The men behind the Horrible Bosses films, director John Francis Daley and writer-turned-co-director Jonathan Goldstein forge an energetic affair in Game Night, turning in a dark comedy which rides on the sunny side of 'dark' but nevertheless trades in a few unexpected twists and turns along the way (arguably maybe one too many).
The story follows happily married - and extremely competitive - couple Max and Annie (Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams), who regularly convene with their friends for a game night, avoiding an ex- game night member, and scary cop neighbour (Jesse Plemons) and thrown into disarray when Max's hotshot brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) puts a twist on their boardgames with a staged kidnapping game which - unsurprisingly - goes desperately wrong.
Peppered with a fair few laugh-out-loud moments that are actually quite clever.
Driven by Bateman and McAdams, who enjoy decent comedy chemistry and some of the most fun moments, and with cut-above actors like Chandler (Zero Dark Thirty), Jeffrey Wright (Westworld), Michael C. Hall (Dexter) and Danny Huston (Wonder Woman) helping colour in the cameos, and Jesse Plemons (Black Mass) stealing the entire show, Game Night is an engaging little comedy with some innovative setpieces and stylisation that cleverly plays upon the board game theme in a way that's not wholly unlike the format of the fabulously (and just as surprisingly) entertaining Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
Sure, the self-aware pop culture references, and long-con trickery do eventually outstay their welcome, building to a series of increasingly over-the-top endings that could have been left for the sequel (which would thankfully be reasonably welcome), but Game Night certainly delivers more than enough bang for your buck, especially for an ostensible comedy, peppered with a fair few laugh-out-loud moments that are actually quite clever.
Game Night Blu-ray PictureWarner's Region Free UK Blu-ray release of Game Night offers up a fabulously glossy 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39.1 widescreen.
The digital cinematography holds up extremely well, particularly in the darker sequences that dominate the piece, with this polished new comedy looking surprisingly good and remarkably stylish. With wider shots that frame the movie as an actual board game (with the cars moving around what looks like a giant board, only to shift focus and drop the effects to reveal it's a real car parking in a real suburb), and even the stylish opening credits, Game Night dresses to impress, and, visually, certainly does.
A great looking film.
Detail is excellent, with pin-point precision that laps up the shorn hair on the creepy cop's herd, the fluff of his dog, and the greying facial hair of Jeffrey Wright. The textures of the environments - initially the living room of the main house, then the brother's mansion, and then some more seedy locations - and the clothing stand out, with superior focus throughout.
The colour scheme allows for some natural, healthy skin tones, warm background environments and a few vibrant added pops that ignite the image, but perhaps the most impressive part is the black levels, which are deep and rich and allow for fabulous darker sequences, never faltering or dropping into crush and digital anomalies. It's a great looking film.
Game Night Blu-ray SoundIf you thought that the video presentation on Warner's release of Game Night was good, wait until you hear the soundtrack; the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is surprisingly punchy, often kicking into the kind of high gear you'd expect from a John Wick sequel rather than a comedy.
Dialogue, at times razor-fast, remains clear and coherent throughout, firmly prioritised across the frontal array, and there are more than a few thunderous gunshots, and even a couple of chases thrown into the mix, leaving an action quotient which allows for an unusually engaging mix.
Surrounds are used adeptly and there's more than a little LFE weight, but it's the score that really elevates the piece, thrumming with intensity and building during more energetic sequences - as stated - as if it were a John Wick movie (the mansion 'club' sequence being a prime contender). It's outstanding, and it's no surprise to find that it's by Drive / Only God Forgives / Neon Demon composer Cliff Martinez.
Game Night Blu-ray ExtrasThe biggest disappointment comes in terms of extras.
With excellent video and outstanding audio, the biggest disappointment comes in terms of extras, where a single, short 3 minute Making of, and an amusing 6 minute Gag Reel almost insult us in an attempt to prevent the disc being labelled bare-bones. The otherwise light supplemental package is rounded off by some Trailers.
Game Night Blu-ray VerdictGame Night certainly delivers more than enough bang for your buck.
Warner's Region Free UK Blu-ray release of Game Night affords the film excellent video and outstanding audio, not least thanks to the score by regular Nicholas Winding Refn composer Cliff Martinez. Despite scant few extras, this remains a strong release and is worth checking out.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £14.99
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