Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) are uber-competitors in everything they do, and together they make a Game Night power couple that is nearly unstoppable. Max’s kryptonite is his brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler), who has effortlessly beaten Max in every competition their whole lives. Brooks proposes a game night that has never been seen before: a mystery competition that must be solved before it can lead to murder of one of the game night participants. Brooks’ own twisted past intervenes, with a real kidnapping crashing into the fake one during the weekly Game Night. Max, Annie and the other competitors keep playing, under the impression that it’s all part of the show, unaware of the real danger. The wild card in all of this is their next door neighbor, policeman Gary (Jesse Plemons), who has been ostracized from the group after his divorce. Gary desperately wants back in and has the resources to cause even more chaos.
The Production: 4.5/5
I saw Game Night theatrically and liked it a lot. It was in a bargain multiplex tho, so the AV quality was not the best. This Bluray destroys that experience, with a rocking soundtrack that includes a lot of classic Queen tracks backed with a synth heavy original score. While one can only imagine that a UHD with HDR and Dolby Atmos could take that experience even higher, this is a very satisfying Bluray experience.
Board games and game nights are having something of a moment these days, and Game Night bridges that excitement while sticking to the traditional games that even those not into the hobby will be familiar with: trivia, charades, Jenga, Monopoly, Pictionary etc. Melding that into a escape room/ murder mystery event that gets blown up by a real home invasion and kidnapping is a brilliant move. Game Night zigs once again by turns into a scavenger hunt and the zags into a James Bond action sequence at the end. It ramps it up into ridiculous heights that will have you giggling with the possibilities and trying to figure out just who is getting played.
The cast has incredible chemistry, playing off each other for big laughs. Plemons’ Gary is a huge win, taking the smoldering intensity and sociopath we have seen in him during Breaking Bad and using it for laughs. Bateman and McAdams’ couple really sell their competitiveness combined with insecurities, and Chandler takes Brooks from the heights of machismo to the lows of despair and you relish his comeuppance. I don’t want to ruin any of the surprises within the other two couples (Sharon Horgan’s Sarah, Billy Magnussen’s Ryan, Lamorne Morris’ Kevin and Kylie Bunbury’s Michelle), but suffice it to say they are not just filler. They all have significant input to the plot and don’t ever feel like filler.
3D Rating: NA
Game Night looks great for a 1080p Bluray in the age of 4K. There’s a lot of night scenes and dark interiors and the blacks are solid without a ton of noise and there’s plenty of detail in the areas that are purposefully lit. I did see a bit of flashing walls and the end sequence looked a little wonky due to fast pans, but other than that I was satisfied watching it. It’ll look even better on the inevitable UHD, I’m sure.
The DTS-HD MA track kicked ass. As noted above I saw it theatrically in a multiplex and wasn’t too hyped up for a great soundtrack experience but those expectations were demolished. The bass heavy synth score was impressive, but what really got me was the sheer enveloping presence of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “We are the Champions” in full surround sound. Big smiles for those. The gunshots and explosions likewise had thundering impact that just wasn’t present in the theater. Did not expect it to be so good and was blown away. Will we hear it in Atmos down the road? I hope so, but I don’t think there will be too much action in the ceiling speakers as much as them being employed to push the atmospherics even better. We will see!
Special Features: 2/5
In a huge disappointment there are only 2 special features. First up is a Making Game Night feature that’s about 5 minutes long. It runs out just as things are getting interesting. On the bright side the Gag Reel is a delight, and shows just how much fun the cast had making this picture.
As someone heavily invested in the renaissance of board gaming I had high hopes for Game Night and was not disappointed in how it turned out. The theatrical experience is bested in big ways by this blu, and I suspect we’ll see a UHD sooner than later. Maybe with a few more extras? Still, the overall release was enough to make this a “Recommended” disk. Check it out!https://www.amazon.com/Game-Night-Blu-ray-Mark-Perez/dp/B077ZJ6V15/