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Michael Mayer
Shani Atias, Michael Aloni, Stéfi Celma
Writing Credits:
Michael Mayer, Guy Ayal

A seemingly friendly dinner party erupts into a night of violence and terror at a lush Hollywood estate.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English/Hebrew DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 2/9/2021

• Alternate Scene
• Deleted Scene
• Blooper Reel
• Previews


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Happy Times [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 25, 2021)

A joint Israeli and American production, 2019’s Happy Times doesn’t reflect its title literally. Of course, if you look to the left and see the cover image of a young woman with a bloody knife, you already realized that.

Wealthy couple Yossi (Ido Mor) and Sigal (Liraz Chamami) invite family and friends to a Purim dinner at their sumptuous Hollywood Hills estate. There they hope to enjoy a warm, lovely celebration.

However, circumstances don’t work out this way, especially after the liquor flows. Abetted by too much booze and too many big egos, the various guests get carried away and violence results.

Which we knew, what with that Blu-ray cover image of the woman with the bloody knife.

That said, this publicity shot oversells the horror side of Happy Times. While the photo implies a bloody thriller, the film instead offers more of a dark comedy than anything else.

This theme becomes more pronounced as the film progresses and the story gets farther from believability. The movie’s first act focuses mainly on character elements, so it draws tensions but stays more in the realm of drama than thriller.

Once the violence starts, though, Times goes down that black comedy path, and with it we leave the realm of plausibility. As the partygoers butt heads, they pursue actions that don’t make sense in real-world terms.

However, I don’t view this as a problem, for the tone shift gives the movie a cruel, catty energy. Even as the tale gets more and more outlandish, we go with it, as we buy into the cynical nastiness.

The actors bring good commitment to their roles. No matter how ridiculous the material becomes, they add a layer of realism to the parts and they don’t go campy or over the top.

No one will call Happy Times a laugh-a-minute romp, but it creates a fairly effective black comedy. With a tight 93-minute running time, it keeps us engaged in its insanity.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus D+

Happy Times appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a pretty solid presentation.

Sharpness worked well most of the time. Though occasional shots felt a little tentative, the image usually came across with nice accuracy.

No signs of jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws also failed to materialize.

Colors leaned toward a fairly teal palette, with some light amber as well. While these failed to excel, they seemed appropriate for the project.

Blacks looked dark and deep, and shadows seemed largely smooth and concise. Though this never became a great image, it offered a good representation of the material.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it offered a largely low-key affair. Despite a few violent sequences, the emphasis remained on dialogue and music.

The score used the five channels reasonably well, and those sporadic moments of “action” broadened the spectrum in a moderately involving manner. Nonetheless, most of the track stayed subdued, so don’t expect a lot of sonic engagement.

Audio quality worked fine, with speech that remained natural and concise. The score showed good range and heft as well.

As noted, effects didn’t do a lot to stand out, but they seemed more than adequate, as they felt accurate and clear. This was a serviceable soundtrack.

Note that the disc offers two separate subtitle options. We can get English text for only the Hebrew lines or for all the film’s dialogue.

Minor extras show up on the disc, and we find both an Alternate Cut of Scene 26 (1:24) and a Deleted Scene for Scene 32 (0:51).

The “Alternate” is so similar to the final scene that it seems like a pointless addition here. The “Deleted” snippet really extends an existing shot, and it also feels forgettable.

A Blooper Reel runs seven minutes, 35 seconds and brings the usual goofs and giggles. Don’t expect much from them, though we do get a handful of alternate lines.

Previews brings ads for Beasts Clawing At Straws, The Dead Ones, Red Christmas and An Exquisite Meal. No trailer for Happy Times appears here.

A darkly comedic take on a social event gone wrong, Happy Times deviates from reality much of the time, but it explores its topics to reasonable effect. Wild and unhinged, the movie becomes a good mix of cynical humor and violence. The Blu-ray brings generally positive picture and audio along with a few bonus features. Though not exactly family fare, this offers an interesting tale.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
1 3:
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