THE BIRDCAGE (1996)

Directed By Mike Nichols 
Written By: Elaine May 
Based on An Earlier Screenplay By: Francis Veber, Edouard Molinaro, Marcello Danon & Jean Poiret
Based in the play La Cage Aux Folles by: Jean Poiret
Cinematography: Enrique Lubezki
Editor: Arthur Schmidt 

Cast: Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman, Dianne Wiest, Hank Azaria, Christine Baranski, Dan Futterman, Calista Flockhart, Tom McGowan, Grant Heslov, Kirby Mitchell, Ann Cusack, Trina McGee-Davis

A gay cabaret owner and his drag queen companion agree to put up a false straight front so that their son can introduce them to his fiancée’s right-wing moralistic parents.


this film at the time was a little daring or a bit of a gamble for a mainstream audience. Though it was also self-assured because of the popular cast. Though behind the scenes you had a bunch of heavy hitters. Who managed to raise the bar on a familiar tale and still knock it out of the park. 

Which shockingly had some actors playing against type. Where we have a fun yet more restrained Robin Williams while playing more of a funny conservative grouch. Seeing gene hackman in drag is certainly different and new.

The film also tries to put in some satire of the political culture at the time and while camping up gay culture at least offers a glimpse inside of it and offers representation.

This film also is really the big screen introduction of Nathan Lane as Albert the drag queen lover who has been practically a mother to robin Williams son in the film. Playing a role that was abandoned by Steve Martin last minute due to scheduling problems. Thilough broadway star Nathan lane took it and made it a star-making Role.

Hank Azaria also makes his presence felt in his supporting role as the couples maid, assistant and cook. Who is also part of the slapstick laughs later in the film.

This is one of those films that came around at the right place and right time. As the film and play was already a hit In France and waiting for an American remake for years that never got made which might have been out of fear in the 1989’s to portray a gay relationship. non chalantly with mainstream big name actors. So that when it did come along the culture was a bit more relaxed and if made today might not even bat too many eyelashes.

Luckily it is still hilarious to watch even on this day and age. Even when the Jokes are a little more obvious they still make you laugh. As there is wit on display as well as physical comedy and just plain old slapstick in the third act.

Out of the cast if anyone is flat It’s the young couple looking to get married played by Claista Flockhart and Dan Futterman though in a film filled with flamboyant and over the top characters you need some to be more quiet and seemingly normal to even it out a little. though they come off a little dull and Futterman Looks way older than Flockhart 

While the film is a laugh riot from beginning to the end it also has character moments that come off more serious and dramatic. As even after the so called Macho lesson the scene where lane tries to act like a straight male in a suit is a thing of beauty and partial pain.

You can feel its theatrical roots throughout it truly strongly in The theirs act where everything comes to a head. What truly is amazing is that while it was dating at its time it plays off so cute that now it feels like a more modern comedic classic that the whole family can enjoy. Even if there are times when it feels overloaded with stereotypes. 

It is so styled yet feels so haywire. That while it might seem like it is filling turbulence it’s always smooth sailing. 

Though there is an overwhelming comedic quality with heart and care that had me going to see it in theaters more than once or twice. 

Grade: A-

I CARE A LOT (2020)

Written & Directed By: J. Blakeson 
Cinematography: Doug Emmett 
Editor: Mark Eckersley 

Cast: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza Gonzalez, Dianne Wiest, Alicia Witt, Chris Messina, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Macon Blair, Damian Young, Nicholas Logan 

A crooked legal guardian who drains the savings of her elderly wards meets her match when a woman she tries to swindle turns out to be more than she first appears.


This can easily be a polarizing film. On the one hand you have a savvy businesswoman who makes her career conning people out of their livelihood. So no one was ever going to find her likable or an adequate anti-hero.

Though we have seen films before where we have male protagonists who do the same thing and are more remembered and celebrated by audiences. Even if they are more disposable and waste the money on frivolous luxuries and vices.

What is more upsetting for an audience here is that not only is the protagonist doing this female. Where usually films treat female characters like her as damaged or coming around at the last minute or femme Fatales who get a comeuppance. More or less she keeps striving no matter the challenge or difficulty and ultimately what she traps comes back to her in worse ways. The same is never made of the antiheroes who are male in other films; they get a snack down but never so severe.

Though truth be told those movies are usually more based on specific people and cases. Here this is a made-up story of a very real cool. Games that are happening more and more. Only for intents and purposes here do we get a face with this type of crime. As well as more of a story.

What also might be upsetting is that in real-life cases there are faces and representatives of the victims. Usually late in the films when they are winding down. For us to realize the destruction and evils of the character even if not planned what the end results of their con games are for some. Here they are picking on the already defenseless the elderly. Which is the equivalent of kicking or torturing an animal on screen these days. Instantly turning the audience against your protagonist. Especially if they were being attacked by them.

So this film already gives you an unlikeable protagonist but also the film is filled with unlikeable characters. Even when you might start to feel for some of them. They show their true colors and you go right back to hating them.

I applaud throwing the audience off but when there is no one to root for. As the characters seem to compete for who is the worst and trying to make excuses for their behavior. It’s not really enjoyable even for a dark comedy.

The film is trying to tackle a subject and knows the best way to inform the audience is from an insider. As the film might be cynical but doesn’t offer false notes. As everyone is flawed and there is no heart of gold that comes through. This film presents a more scrubbed clean dog eat dog world. That is all about survival above all else.

It’s not necessarily an enjoyable film but like the characters it tries to make you as comfortable as you can be while watching these events unfold and tries to add some humor to the proceedings 

Rosamund Pike is excellent in the starring role. Even though it seems every few years she plays this type of role. A character who at first seems like a pushover but then reveals herself to be a shark. So it’s refreshing to see her play such strong female characters every so often. Making you wonder why she isn’t offered more roles. It might be as in these roles she comes off as threatening usually to male protagonists. Some might feel uncomfortable casting her in easier or less challenging roles?

Though at least the film is thought-provoking and wouldn’t expect anything else from writer Director J. Blakeson, Especially after his film THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED 

The film is upsetting for anyone looking for good to conquer evil. It is a dark and cynical comedy with heavy overtones. Though it isn’t bad or disappointing, just unlikeable.

Grade: B-

THE MULE (2018)

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Directed By: Clint Eastwood
Written By: Nick Schenk
Inspired by the New York Times Magazine Article “The Sinaloa Cartel’s 90-Year Old Drug Mule” by: Nick Soloman
Cinematography: Yves Balenger
Editor: Joel Cox 

Cast: Clint Eastwood, Dianne Wiest, Taissa Farminga, Clifton Collins Jr., Bradley Cooper, Michael Pena, Alison Eastwood, Laurence Fishburne, Andy Garcia, Lobo Sebastian, Victor Rasuk, Robert LaSardo, Eugene Cordero, Ignaccio Serricchio 


The movie was inspired by the story of Leo Sharp, a World War II veteran in his 80s who became the world’s oldest and most prolific drug mule for the Sinaloa Cartel.

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