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-

HEIST (2001)

Written & Directed By: David Mamet
Cinematography By: Robert Elswit
Editor: Barbara Tulliver

Cast: Gene Hackman, Rebecca Pidgeon, Sam Rockwell, Delroy Lindo, Danny DeVito, Ricky Jay, Patti LuPone

Joe Moore has a job he loves. He’s a thief. His job goes sour when he gets caught on security camera tape. His fence, Bergman reneges on the money he’s owed, and his wife may be betraying him with the fence’s young lieutenant. Moore and his partner, Bobby Blane and their utility man, Pinky Pincus find themselves broke, betrayed, and blackmailed. Moore is forced to commit his crew to do one last big job.


Writer/director David Mamet isn’t necessarily interested in the action and spoils I war as much as the audience is. He is more interested in the characters and the before as after of their thoughts and actions. He is in love with the art and construction of the con and the plan.

There isn’t some gargantuan score to keep us riveted. The film keeps things small scale and subdued. Not filled with reaction sequences. Not that the older cast can’t take it. They are in the classic mold of tough guys, but they are older and established. They don’t need the headache of the bigger score. Also don’t need as much. They treat the scores as more I do a job, but they get off on the excitement and intrigue more than anything. Beating supposed smarter and tougher men.

While it telegraphs much of what will happen the film still holds a few aces of its own sleeves. 

While one if the off moments of the film could be Rebecca Pidgeon as the Femme-Fatale of the film. She is the directors wife and has a more common look. Not the typical bombshell you would expect. That is what works for her. In real life when you see the person some guys risk it all for. They might not be everyone’s cup of tea. That is the power in the relationship. They are so unassuming you don’t see them coming. A Jennifer Lopez or Charlize Theron you sense something is up. A Julia stiles you don’t and they use their power once they have you. To lead you down a road you, not ally would never take. It makes it all the more real. Think about some couples it’s always the one least likely. Not a centerfold, but as you get to know them and appreciate other aspects of them it accentuated their looks as overall appeal until you have fallen under a spell by the name of love or lust.

Rebecca Pidgeon usually plays the female lead of his films or at least an important role in them. She is a talented actress though at times feels a little too staged in her performances.

Sam Rockwell is good though his mustache does most of the character work for him it seems as his slimy character is easily transparent. Like a cad from a bygone era.

Gene Hackman is a marvel and fits into the film as he is an acting Everyman. Though strangely doesn’t get the best lines. This is one of his last performances and while there is nothing particularly special about his performance. He is as usual strong and believable. He has the grizzled veteran part down pat.

Gene Hackman mentioned in several interviews that he found shooting the film difficult and somewhat uncomfortable because he was so much older than everyone involved. He, therefore, kept much to himself, and in the end managed to draw on that feeling of being an outsider in the group for his portrayal.

The film for all of it’s twist and turns lacks a certain excitement and fells more cut and dry.
While certainly entertaining and commanding. You feels satisfied but a bit underwhelmed. It might be the smaller nature of the film compared to its usual genre companions which are usually bigger productions and more action-packed. This one is more for adults.

Grade: B-