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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 22 November 2005
If you're wanting to buy 4 Weddings on DVD, my advice is buy this one. The picture has been remastered to a level which I didn't think was possible when viewing the old release - extremely impressive. Also the sound has been remastered in 5.1, which although doesn't exploit the rear speakers a lot is a DEFINITE improvement over the vanilla.
The extras, too, are impressive. You get an interesting group commentary by director Newell, Producer Kenworthy and writer Curtis. Also included are; 2 documentaries, TV promotions, good deleted scenes etc. There's also the short featurette which appeared on the original DVD - so you're not missing out by upgrading.
Because DVDs can be bought so cheaply nowadays, my advice is to spend the extra pound or two and buy this - it's worth a thousand more than the old release.
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I recently reviewed the BLU RAY reissue of "Love Actually" - commenting on how beautiful the picture quality had suddenly become over the preceding DVD versions. Well - somebody seems to be taking care of business here too - because the print on this 6 February 2012 reissue of "Four Weddings And A Funeral" is exceptional also - especially given what's gone before.

Filmed in the summer of 1993 and released in the spring of 1994 - Director Mike Newell and Producer Tim Bevan took a big chance on a then largely unknown Hugh Grant as the male lead. Playing Charles - a nice but bumbling 32-year old British bachelor - he's the love interest for the sophisticated and sexy American socialite Carrie (Andie MacDowell hot from her successes in "Green Card" and "Groundhog Day"). With six hundred thousand dollars lopped off their budget and only 38 days to shoot - it cost very little to make - and therefore when it became a global phenomenon it eventually grossed over $250 million in profit worldwide. "Four Weddings..." also made stars of Hugh Grant (and Liz Hurley in 'that' dress at the London premier). It laid the ground for so many British rom-coms to follow - highlighted the classiness of Kristin Scott-Thomas ("The English Patient") - Rowan Atkinson as a comedic genius - John Hannah as the thinking-woman's crumpet - and of course properly launched the 'film' career of England's best scriptwriter - Richard Curtis. It was even nominated for 2 Oscars - Best Film and Best Original Screenplay.

Clarity - starting with spotlessly clean PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and MGM logos - the BLU RAY bypasses a menu and goes straight into the credits - and as the principal characters are established in the opening montage - its clear that some kind of restoration has been done here. It looks really great - bright, clean and amazingly fresh. The picture is also automatically defaulted to a 16.9 aspect - so it fits your entire screen without losing any definition to stretching.

So much is visually improved in this transfer, but moments that stick out include - the scene outside the church after the first wedding where Charles spots Carrie across the churchyard - it's beautifully clear. When they are making their way back from the tent reception - drunk in a Land Rover singing "Stand By Your Man" - and Charles gets out of the car under some trees at night - it's 'so' clear. Charlotte Coleman as Charles' eccentric sister Scarlett and her scary dress sense - orange hat and purple dress - Rowan Atkinson as the trainee priest conducting his first wedding service and blowing almost every line - when Carrie turns up at the end in the doorway in the rain - all of it - just great. There are only a few occasions when you notice slight haze and blocking (Bernard and Lydia getting it on in the bedroom as Charles hides) - but mostly it's a joy to look at and really brings out the summery feel of it all - smartly dressed guests in sunny garden locations etc. It also shows a London landscape that has no Gherkin building, the lovely Lady Di was still with us and a person gave you a Fax number and not an e-mail address.

It's very funny too - the script is fantastic in so many places - Charles describing one of his posh friend's new look "Tom...disastrous haircut..." - Scott Thomas describing the dress of the first bride Laura "...She looks like a big meringue..." - George the boor at the Boatman pub thinking he's in with the American sexpot - "Damn fine filly..." - Charles confiding in Matthew (John Hannah) about fluffing an attempt at wooing the same - "Do you think there really are people who can say...Hi Baby! My name is Charles! And this is your lucky night!" And Matthew replies "Well if there is...they're not English!"

And when actual heart is called for (tears instead of laughter) - Curtis gives John Hannah the speech at Gareth's funeral complete with the W.H. Auden poem "Funeral Blues" at the end ("Stop all the clocks...He was my North, my South, My East and My Sunday Rest..."). It's still evocative to this day. Even the gay relationship between their characters was handled with joy and class and didn't focus on disease and ostracization.

Niggles - we've seen it too many times and it hasn't dated as well as "Love Actually" or "Nothing Hill" when it comes to repeat viewing. The terrible Elton John song at the beginning. The lack of language subtitles shows an amazingly cavalier attitude to audiences outside of English speaking countries. The 'Extras' listed below are good - the 2004 versions put out on the DVD double (interviews with Grant, Newell, Callow, MacDowell etc) - but it would have been nice to have something new. But apart from those small points - there's little else. If only Terry Gilliam's film legacy was treated with such respect and smarts...

To sum up - an evergreen movie and a very satisfying transfer to BLU RAY. So if you've any affection for this great British romcom - then acquire this version of it pronto - especially as its relatively cheap.


PS: this review is dedicated to the memory of the actress Charlotte Coleman

BLU RAY Specifications:
PICTURE: Widescreen 16.9 Aspect Ratio
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
SUBTITLES: English For The Hearing Impaired
Audio Commentary with Filmmakers Mike Newell
Four Weddings And A Funeral - In The Making Featurette
The Wedding Planners Documentary
Two Actors And A Director Featurette
Two Promotional Clips (one with Hugh Grant as Lead, then Andie MacDowell as Lead)
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
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on 21 January 2003
Four Weddings and a Funeral is an extremely funny film. If the opening sequence doesn't make you laugh, nothing will. And conversely, if Matthew's moving rendition of W. H. Auden's "Stop all the clocks. . ." poem doesn't leave you close to tears, then you must be truly hard-hearted. Unfortunately though, what could have been an excellent comedy has a major flaw.
Charles (Hugh Grant) is a likeable chap whose friends are all getting married, leaving him as a sort of perpetual Best Man. Then American Carrie (Andie MacDowell) enters the picture and causes Charles to reassess his thoughts on marriage. Grant has charisma in spades, but sadly MacDowell does not. In fact, she is perhaps one of the least charismatic actresses ever. Not only that, but the limit of her acting ability seems to be a toothpaste-advertisement-style smile. Fortunately the casting of Charles's motley collection of single friends is excellent, and one can't help thinking he would be better off marrying one of them.
The film is almost fly-on-the-wall in its style, which gives it realism and allows it to explore the relationships within the group of friends on an intimate and everyday level. Hence the subtle humour works better than, for example, Rowan Atkinson's very obvious laugh-line attempts as a preacher with a penchant for Spoonerisms.
As one character notes, weddings have a habit of blending together in the memory and the director has played on this, creating four weddings that are visually similar and yet distinct. And of one of them is particularly memorable for the fact that it doesn't actually include a marriage ceremony. At its conclusion the film shows that whilst marriage is a noble institution, it is not for everybody.
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on 16 September 2015
I hadn't seen this for over twenty years. I’d forgotten that the opening scenes, seeing people arriving for a society wedding, the first actual speech is a series of expletives, uttered because Charles (Hugh Grant, looking remarkably young) oversleeps on a morning when he’s supposed to be Best Man....

The story is character-driven and relationship-based, and contains little more than four weddings and a funeral, not quite in that order. There's a mixture of sub-plots with Charles as the main character. Hugh Grant manages this part to perfection, and it's the role which guaranteed his later stardom.

Other characters are rather more stereotyped. It didn’t matter too much, and the caricatured roles of some of Charles’ friends helped me to keep them separate in my mind. We particularly enjoyed the lively and highly eccentric Gareth (Simon Callow), and the cameo role for Rowan Atkinson as a new and very nervous priest.

The one slight disappointment is Carrie (Andie McDowell), the romantic lead, who has little to recommend her other than her looks. She’s hardly a role model (being highly promiscuous, not to mention materialistic). The chemistry - and growing friendship - between her and Charles really doesn’t work.

There’s a great deal of humour in the film, most of it understated but cleverly done. The comic timing is perfect. It makes the shocking parts stand out all the more; and the recital of a poem at the funeral is extremely moving. It makes an excellent point about love - real love - transcending all boundaries and cultural expectations.

The 15 rating is still appropriate; the ‘strong’ language is there for effect, and it might well be down-rated to a 12 by today’s standards if that were all. But there are several rather overt scenes of intimacy; no nudity as such, but several scenes that lead little to the imagination. It’s rated R in the United States.

Overall, we enjoyed it very much. I’d give it four and a half stars if such a thing were possible.
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on 15 July 2013
Not as funny as I remember it to be. It was one of those ones everyone raved about at the time, and is now a nice-to-see but has lost its shine a little for me. I suspect it was just a bit different back then, but now seems a bit dated, but even so, not a bad way to spend a light hearted evening
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on 23 May 2014
Although I have watched this film on more than one occasion, I decided I would like my own DVD to enjoy whenever I choose. It is entertaining on so many level - very funny and touching story and well filmed. From the opening scenes, the energy that runs through is great and there are so many excellent performances from familiar actors. A must to add to your DVD library
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on 12 February 2012
Nice to see this old (18 years!) comedy get a rework on to Blu-Ray and the publishers have done a reasonable job, good picture and sound.

The main problem is, the movie was very much a product of it's time, the first modern rom-com which spawned a load of others. It is still watchable and very funny in places, but the humour has aged and is cringeworthy in places. The plot and story holes are even more evident, this group of people going to weddings but who otherwise we know very little about. None of them seem to work for a living and they all seem to inhabit some dreamy upper middle class British clique.

Then there's Hugh Grant's Charles obsession with Andie McDowell's Carrie. Most red blooded English males would have been more than happy to spend the rest of their lives with "Duckface" or the delectable Fiona. Probably given their little finger too! But no, the entire film is based around the pursuit of the self confessed promiscuous and vacuous American female.

So by all means have a nostalgiac smile and in fairness it's all harmless enough as a reminder of what 90's yuppie Britain was (not quite) like.
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on 6 July 2015
Started (in my memory at least ) the run of UK "feel good" films ( Notting Hill, About a Boy, Bridget Jones, Love Actually, etc etc ) Good old-fashioned fun, some great lines and scenes, Grant at the top of his blinky, stuttery, thing. Only woeful bit is Andee McDowell's acting - she just simpers and pouts all the way through. She even gets her timing way wrong at the end - turning round to speak to Grant, BEFORE he calls "wait"......... But a classic that stands the test of repeat watching, sad though it is to see the late Charlotte Coleman.
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on 23 April 2012
I have given this Blu-Ray three stars because it is an entertaining film. The blu-ray transfer itself however is ruined by the fact that there is a "hair" in the frame for the first few minutes of the film and it crops up again several times later during the movie. Quite clearly the film scanner was not cleaned before the HD scan was made.It is such a shame that the technician that did the digital transfer didn't check his or her work. However I would say that the colour and sharpness of the film is pleasing and a distinct improvement on the DVD. Disappointing.
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This a pleasant film to sit through, but was probably somewhat overrated at the time of its release back in 1994. The cast are uniformly good, and it does have some very funny moments; however it is also quite superficial and the character of Carrie is paper thin. Even in a film that's going all out to entertain, you need to feel there is some logic to the actions of characters, but here we are expected to believe that this American would marry a man when she has already met Charles (Hugh Grant) and realised they felt a mutual attraction; then when her marriage predictably falls through, she turns up on Charles's wedding to someone else. It is hard to believe in the ingenuousness of this and the film fails really. However if you take it very lightly, there is plenty to enjoy, outstanding ensemble playing, Grant as good as ever in his tongue-tied way, and James Fleet and John Hannah perhaps sharing the honours as moving characters who manage to give the screenplay more relevance to life that it strictly deserves. The funeral sequence is the most convincing - which is not a good sign in a comedy - nevertheless this part is moving and Hannah plays it perfectly.
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