Four Weddings and a Funeral: Movie Review

Four Weddings and a Funeral
Starring Hugh Grant, Hames Fleet, Simon Callow, John Hannah, Kristen Scott Thomas

Humor. That is one area where the movie shines. Whenever the film tries to be funny, most of the time it succeeds in making the audience chuckle, if not laugh out loud every time. Well-balanced in its approach to the various genres within which it is trying to fit in, the director Mike Newell, regularly swaps the comedic antics of the cast with weighty poignant moments which seem convincingly sincere and yield genuine emotions in the viewer. The humor is crisp, English, almost Shavian, full of social commentary about the volatile nature of modern relationships and the almost elusive dream of finding the right partner for life. The results come out to be funny, affecting and consequentially heart wrenching at times. The subtle melancholic vibes surrounding the movie makes you feel for the characters and more than that it makes you feel for your own self. As you look closely at the lost, isolated characters who find solace in each other's loneliness, you realize how many people in the world have gone through similar phases in their lives where they feel hopeless about their futures, and simply start accepting the fact that they are never going to meet anybody with whom they can spend the rest of their lives with. Of course, at its core it is a light romantic comedy with a more sensible plot, commendable dialogues and more believable characters than the average brainless twaddle in this genre but what makes this movie good is all that its not. This is good, meaningful cinema. Some of the romantic scenes are exemplary in their direction and acting, particularly for the thrill and dramatic tension they create as the two central characters find it hard to express their convoluted feelings and and even harder to make the right choices for themselves, for each other and for the people around them. Hugh Grant does a great job at fleshing out his character with a believable personality while Andie MacDowell did as fine an act as she always does. The rest of the cast, all English, all theater trained and all of them being distinguished movies actors, carried their own weight well. The cliched ending almost turns it into a feel good movie but this ensures that the audience does not leave the cinema hall disappointed after going through the gloomy and sensitive shade of events throughout the movie.

And the Mountains Echoed: Book Review

And the Mountains Echoed
By Khaled Hosseini

With a seemingly exhaustive psychological study of multiple characters, a relatively innovative technique of storytelling, at least in theory, and a judicious use of the atrocities during the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan(and the subsequent unfortunate events) to make the novel high on empathy and emotional glib, Khaled Hosseini here presents his fans, and the rest of the world, with a well-calculated, crafty little package of tearful pandemonium of human miseries and wretchedness. No matter how much the stories, peeking from behind the veil of the plainly written prose, might be real and reeking with the anguish that is associated with human life, any sense of the dark and desolate being portrayed remains absent mostly due to the tender touch being added by the writer over and over again, as if God might come down in real life and apologize for all the wrongs that fate did to the characters, every other day of their lives. There is no doubt that many people must have had stories similar to the ones described in this book and many of those unfortunate events might even seem too unrealistic and unnatural to happen and yet must have happened to someone somewhere, a hapless childhood event bothering him for the rest of his life, a lie they have lived for a lifetime, the truth only to be discovered by their children after their demise, but as a writer when you choose such conventional themes central to a story, a mere touch of highly unlikely coincidences aren't enough to make your story memorable and epic. The most important thing then would be to rely on a powerful vibe surrounding the events of the story, a sparse film of melancholy desolateness shrouding the pages that describe the banalities of the wretched, almost nameless characters living a hopeless life, the air they breath so rarefied and thin the reader might just suffocate on his own. Throwing more and more words, making up unrealistic coincidences and adding excessive characters just defeats the whole purpose, and is not just a lost opportunity on a great story and theme but is also a blatant disrespect to the actual people who have gone through such difficult times.

Notwithstanding the above issues, there are a couple of things that deserve to be highlighted and that make this book bearable, and even readable. If you have a long journey and want a fast read to engross yourself all the way upto your destination, then by all means, pick this title up and it will keep you engaged the entire time your fellow travelers slog through their tedious trip. The relatively unconventional narrative technique makes this a considerably interesting and addictive read, almost to the point where it could potentially achieve the status of a modern average thriller paperback and keeps you interested right until the end and, even though the execution could have been far more efficacious and powerful, and I am sure some other writer somewhere must have done a better job with a similar technique coming up with a far more dynamic and compelling result, still "And the Mountains Echoed" wears this piece of jewellery gracefully and sells itself well to its bidders with the sole trinket it has to offer. Also the writing is simple, verbose, almost to the point where you feel like someone is writing a satire on slick impassioned prose used in modern best selling paperbacks, but atleast the text is approachable to the average reader, so there you go, that's another reason you could pick this book up.

Looking back, I do not solely regret reading this novel and there were some truly warm and heartfelt moments that I might remember for a long time, moments that capture honest humane emotions in-spite of the fact that they are being represented by poorly developed, forgettable characters emanating from the imagination of a writer constantly feeding his own literary career on the mutilated and vandalized skeleton of a war torn nation and its forlorn inhabitants. But even this self-serving act of the writer translates into an effort to bring awareness to the injustices and horrors caused by the brutish and barbaric Afghan History and thus deserves the attention that he gets within the literary community and among the mass fiction readers.

Backyard Memoir

While I look at two year old pictures from my old phone with artificial filters applied to them, to add to the melancholy,  I feel attracted to that time. A hot summers day where I sat outside and wondered whether I would ever become an engineer while the trees around me grew and grew, as if that is what makes time move for the rest of the world, the growth of organisms all over the world in a subtle unison.

The pictures are beautiful. And expressive.

There is a raw texture added by the filters which provides a certain degree of depth to the picture. The dirt all around reveals a randomness to the scene, and to life in general.

Here is another one with a much darker yet comforting tone.

The ugly little stubs on the side clinging to the tree's thick stem, like they are trying to protect it from external threats. And the tall, pointed palm leaves sticking out from the bottom, attempting to climb the large tree, trying to overpower the monster. And the flowers all around looking like innocent young spectators, watching the giant tree and its ascent in awe. An entire world, an entire story right in my backyard.

The funny part is that the backyard is still almost the same, while everything else has changed so much.

Entering the Garden

I am listening to this song called On My Own by a band called Ashes Remains.

Apparently, its a Christian band, which is, I don't know, it doesn't matter much. Actually it does, since its kinda spiritual and that soothes my soul. Unconsciously. I feel safe.

The song isn't that good, but I listened to it a long time ago and I sort of liked it. And now its nostalgic. Not too overwhelming. But in a more subtle manner, almost teasing at a thin glaze of memories from your past life.

Coming back to the garden, which is the title. Ugh. The song ended. I need to put a new one.

Alright, Rude by Magic!.

Now the garden. I think its a beautiful place to start. Look at this.

gardenofeden.jpg

Yeah, I am trying to be symbolic and everything. Go figure it out. I am not gonna write all of it down. All the subtle metaphors that resemble this first post with the idea of entering into the garden of Eden.

Sure its not the most clever idea.

But, whatever.