1990's, Andie MacDowell, Charlotte Coleman, David Bower, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Hugh Grant, James Fleet, John Hannah, Kristin Scott Thomas, Mike Newell, Richard Curtis, Romantic Comedy, Rowan Atkinson, Simon Callow
- Hugh Grant
- Andie MacDowell
- Kristin Scott Thomas
- Simon Callow
- John Hannah
- James Fleet
- Charlotte Coleman
- David Bower
- Rowan Atkinson
A most beguiling and funny romance that helped launch the career of Hugh Grant, Four Weddings and a Funeral has lost none of its witty edge, eccentric characters and unexpected pathos.
Charles(Hugh Grant) is someone who can’t seem to keep a relationship. He’s a perennial bachelor, never the groom. With a rag-tag group of friends- cynical Fiona(Kristin Scott Thomas), her not too bright brother Tom(James Fleet), partners Gareth and Matthew(Simon Callow and John Hannah), sassy flat mate Scarlett(Charlotte Coleman) and his deaf brother David(David Bower)- he’s always attending weddings. In most cases, he is late due to clumsiness. Although he’s never seemingly considered marriage or a serious relationship, he finds his world changed when he meets Carrie(Andie MacDowell). She’s an American wedding guest who he meets at the first nuptials. They hit it off and spend the night together. But timing isn’t on their side and Carrie leaves for the States. The next time they meet(at another wedding) Carrie is engaged to someone else. For the first time in his life, Charles actually falls in love with someone deeply. But even though it’s clear that Carrie has some feeling for Charles, can anything come of the attraction seeing as though their timing is nearly always off?
Director Mike Newell brings polish and pace to proceedings with direction that allows the events to have amusing and fun atmosphere throughout, coupled with moments of sadness and reflection. As the events centre around the what the title says, we know to expect eventfulness, but it’s surprising how well crafted this romantic comedy is. Although it seems we may know where events are going, a few little twists and unexpected moments raise it from just another comedy romance. The Oscar-nominated screenplay from Richard Curtis is a big success at fleshing out the characters as they navigate the sea of love. The script makes us enjoy the company of these people and we grow to love them. They all have wit, charm and purpose in the story and you enjoy feeling like you know them as they encounter all manner of awkwardness at functions. From being seated at a table of exes to improvising when forgetting wedding rings, they all occur in hilarious fashion. Between the skill of Newell and the fun of Curtis, Four Weddings and a Funeral is a good-hearted success. Laughs flow like great wine and the entertainment factor is high.
But Four Weddings and a Funeral also has a bittersweet undercurrent to offset any worries of overly sentimental treacle. I mean if you aren’t crying at the funeral scene where ‘Funeral Blues’ is delivered, you’ve clearly not got much of a heart. This movie can deliver on the serious stuff and isn’t afraid to either. This balances with the buoyant feeling of the overall film that has a laugh at love’s complexities and bad sense of timing. Four Weddings and a Funeral is heartwarming stuff with that added something extra, that lands it in the pantheon of excellent romantic comedies. A lovely and tentative score backs up blossoming romance and all the feelings love brings out in people. And one can’t forget the use of ‘ Love Is All Around ‘by Wet, Wet, Wet to close out the film.
Heading the cast is the irrepressibly charismatic Hugh Grant. Though he’s visited the persona of bumbling and foppish leading man many times in his career, this was where it started and is one of his best. Grant just boasts this lovable rogue and awkward vibe to him that really makes a mark in the film as he finally discovers love may in fact be on the cards for him. Endearing is the perfect word for Hugh Grant’s star making presence here. People occasionally rag on Andie MacDowell by saying she’s not the most expressive actress and sometimes it’s true ,but I think she is quite well cast as the potential love interest. She’s got radiance, vitality and a certain mystery that I love and displays they under good direction MacDowell is really something. Plus her burgeoning chemistry with Grant is delightful. Kristin Scott Thomas is reliable as ever, turning the role of the sarcastic Fiona into something more by revealing that her behaviour stems from unrequited love. Simon Callow and John Hannah are wonderful scene stealers playing the only happy couple among their group of friends. Callow is brash and full of life, Hannah is more subdued but wise. Both compliment the other in an inspired way that is convincing and involving. James Fleet is a hoot as is Charlotte Coleman as the most off the wall member of the gang and David Bower as Charles’ brother, who comes in handy in a crisis. An amusing small part is filled with great humour by Rowan Atkinson as a completely inept vicar.
A winning romantic comedy with heart and laughs, Four Weddings and a Funeral is hard to resist.
Having been so busy lately, I totally forgot that today was my seventh anniversary of blogging. Time has flown and I still can’t believe it’s been seven years. It’s all because of my loyal followers who are simply the best. This ones for you. So I’ll let the gif below express my appreciation of you all.
- Lupita Nyong’o
- Winston Duke
- Shahadi Wright Joseph
- Evan Alex
- Elisabeth Moss
- Tim Heidecker
A sophomore horror from Jordan Peele after the success of Get Out, Us may not reach the heights of its predecessor but it undoubtedly has something to say and is bolstered by fine acting.
As a child, Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) was traumatised when she wandered into the hall of mirrors at the Santa Cruz boardwalk. She encountered what seemed like a doppelgänger but was never able to bring herself to tell her parents what happened. As an adult, Adelaide is now married to the affable Gabe Wilson( Winston Duke) and has two children, daughter Zora( Shahadi Wright Joseph) and son Jason(Evan Alex). They are visiting Santa Cruz once more so they can see the wine-swilling and discontented Kitty(Elisabeth Moss) and Josh(Tim Heidecker), both friends of the couple. Adelaide has never confided in anyone about what happened all those years ago and is unsurprisingly apprehensive. While there, Jason wanders off which really terrifies Adelaide as it brings back bad memories and they return to their holiday home. A series of other coincidences alarm Adelaide and just as she is confessing to Gabe about her trauma , an eerie sight comes into view. To the horror of the Wilsons, they discover the figures outside are their doppelgängers . Menaced by their sinister counterparts, they are thrown into terror. And it appears that doppelgängers are not just for the Wilsons, but for many others too. Desperate to survive and protect her family, Adelaide must attempt to outwit the doubles and figure out their origins before it’s too late.
Jordan Peele is clearly going for something more ambitious here and displays immense talent too. Not every decision he makes is good, but he is largely at home with this kind of work. In relation to the highlight that was Get Out, Us falls short. But Get Out set a very high standard that it would be impossible to reach that level of success. On the praise front, Us most certainly keeps you glued with an unusual rhythm and the fact that we aren’t spoon fed information and is open to interpretation. Peele has you sympathise and get to know the Wilsons before all manner of hell breaks loose, which is commendable especially in the case of Adelaide. I don’t think Us will be a movie for everyone as it’s horror but with a difference. I’m firmly in the middle as of now, but I think the positives are outweighing the negatives.
Once you settle into the groove of the movie, Us begins to reveal its themes and message. And while it bites off more than it can chew, I was impressed by the allusions it made to the oppressive nature of society and duality. This is backed up by symbolism that eagle eyed viewers will eat up as it all means something. The humour gets a tad excessive and I would have appreciated Peele reigning it in a bit more. I found that some laughs overshadowed what Us was going for and didn’t really help. But the horror and off kilter imagery stands out for a start and continues throughout Us. It has been more than a bit overhyped, but definitely has its merits more than its faults. I feel that Us is one of those movies that will improve when watched again as there is mystery there and I’m sure parts that we might have missed. So watch this space as my mixed opinion may change in the future as I think more on it. There is some chewing the cud to do that’s for sure and certain.The score is pretty stellar at conveying the overall eerie and downright spooky nature of Us, while a well chosen soundtrack is in full swing too with many a highlight of juxtaposition.
The cast do wonders, especially considering each is playing two people. Lupita Nyong’o is the biggest standout with two fantastic and very convincing performances. While Adelaide is frightened but eventually strong, her doppelgänger is sinister and unnerving. She finely judges both roles and it’s simply amazing how much she puts into both, from the fierce look in Adelaide’s eyes to the skin-crawling voice of her double. It takes a strong actress to convince as two very different characters, but Lupita Nyong’o is more than up to the challenge. Nyong’o deserves nothing but praise for her accomplishment here which is two completely different performances executed handsomely. Winston Duke injects a lot of humour into the role of affable father and husband, he does get some of the best lines and runs with them with fine comic timing. He also provides a hulking presence as his creepy double. Usually kids in horror movies fall into two categories; believable and annoying nuisance. Thankfully Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex are in the former category and hold their own against more experienced co-stars. In a small but memorable role, Elisabeth Moss conveys the dissatisfaction and vanity of her character with ease and commitment. Then she turns it up a few notches as a nefarious but strangely tragic double. Tim Heidecker supplies good support too as her husband.
A bit overly ambitious but nonetheless creepy and with many messages among the horror, Us gets by on atmosphere and excellent acting, particularly from Lupita Nyong’o.
- Daniel Kaluuya
- Allison Williams
- Bradley Whitford
- Catherine Keener
- Lil Rey Howery
- Caleb Landry Jones
- Marcus Henderson
- Betty Gabriel
An auspicious debut from TV comic Jordan Peele, Get Out is horror/mystery with a socially aware slant and provocative examination of race relations that is both chilling and
Chris Washington(Daniel Kaluuya) is an African-American photographer who has been dating Rose Armitage(Allison Williams) , who is white. Rose invites him to meet her parents, but Chris is apprehensive of their reaction. They live in plush surroundings in upstate New York and Rose eventually persuades Chris to come with her. Upon arrival, things seem to go well with neurosurgeon Dean(Bradley Whitford) and psychiatrist Missy(Catherine Keener). But although Missy and Dean seem to welcome Chris , their attempts at being friendly and not bothered by his ethnicity come off as very heavy-handed. This is despite the fact they claim to be open-minded people and ones of culture. There is something decidedly off about them that only continues in the ensuing days. Chris was warned by his best friend Rod( Lil Rey Howery) about the way the parents might react but he thought his friend was being overly paranoid and over thinking things. Adding to this deep unease is that two of the servants, in the house are African-American and act very strangely towards Chris. Rose assures him that her family is cool with him, but Chris is unable to shake off the vibe that something sinister is underlying him stating there. As the feeling of paranoia and terror increases(though he attempts to pass it off as Rose’s parents being shocked she is dating a black man), Missy at one point hypnotises Chris without him agreeing to it, Chris soon realises that he is at the centre of something very twisted indeed. He was mainly worried about how Rose’s parents and social circle would reacted to him dating their daughter, but that’s the least of his worries in this creepy horror flick with something to say.
As first time director, Jordan Peele infuses Get Out with a building tension right from the start. He’s clearly well versed in horror as he is in comedy, which both featuring throughout. It’s the confidence of Peele as a first time director that stands out here and impresses with how he takes the time to set up the story and pull you in on the horror that unravels. You’ll probably never look at bingo or the chiming of a spoon on a teacup the same way again after viewing Get Out. While being a very disturbing horror film with oodles of atmosphere, Get Out is also at times laugh out loud funny. It’s got a snappy wit that is best embodied by Chris’s best friend. He says outrageous things but they are often not far from the strange truth st the centre of the film. Wit also appears in the form of satire at people who claim to be open-minded, when in actual fact are very much prejudice. Peele’s writing, which won an Oscar, lampoons this and blends it with the unnerving sense of something being very wrong with the family Chris meets. Get Out is the kind of film I can imagine revisiting again, in order to discover things I may have not noticed upon first viewing. And that’s a compliment at least in my movie viewing book. A dissonant music score keeps you constantly on edge with screeching violins and occasional choral chanting. Also pervading the heavy atmosphere is a moody cinematography that’s also extremely complimentary to the story.
Heading the cast is the talented Daniel Kaluuya. He possesses a kindness, skepticism and realisation as Chris that makes you relate to him. His look of bewilderment at the events often mirrors our own way of approaching the unusual catalogue of creepiness that takes form. Put simply, Kaluuya is an impressive lead who is clearly going places. Allison Williams is also very good as Rose; who might not be what you think when you first look at her and is a testament to the talent of Williams. Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener are sublimely excellent as the unusual patents whose privileged existence masks something extremely sinister. Both exude a certain level of menace but intelligence too, which is a dangerous yet effective combo. Further creepiness comes in the form of Caleb Landry Jones who has a very offbeat but worrying vibe to him, backed up by Marcus Henderson and Betty Gabriel who seem to have stepped out of The Stepford Wives and into the 21st century. Stealing the show in his appearances has to be Lil Rel Howery, who is an absolute hoot providing the social commentary and outrageous humour of the piece. He’s laugh out loud and heroic at the same time and I very much enjoyed his performance whenever he appeared.
Splendidly unusual, darkly amusing and topical in themes, Get Out succeeds as a very creepy and unnerving horror that stands out indeed and comes highly recommended from me.