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-

WOLF (1994)

Directed By: Mike Nichols 
Written By: Jim Harrison & Wesley Strick 
Cinematography: Giuseppe Rotunno 
Editor: Sam O’Steen 

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Spader, Christopher Plummer, Richard Jenkins, Kate Nelligan, Eileen Atkins, David Hyde Pierce, Om Puri, Ron Rifkin, Allison Janney 

Worn down and out of luck, aging publisher Will Randall is at the end of his rope when a younger co-worker snatches his job out from under his nose. But after being bitten by a wolf, Will suddenly finds himself energized, more competitive than ever, and possessed with amazingly heightened senses. Meanwhile, the beautiful daughter of his shrewd boss begins to fall for him – without realizing that the man she’s begun to love is gradually turning into the creature by which he was bitten.


I remember being entertained when I first saw this movie on video. Watching it now It comes across as instantly dated. As that is only part of the problems one might have with the film. 

Watching this film you can tell Mike Nichols who is a great and legendary director. Is more of a character and actors director more than a genre director. He brings esteem to the proceedings in what could have been easily more exploitive fare. 

Who brings a well-known and established cast to the movie. Actors who wouldn’t necessarily be bothered to be in this type of film. At the later stages of esteemed careers. 

As much of this movie plays out as a drama and romance rather than a monster movie or horror film. As a first, the film chooses to showcase the peers he gets from being a werewolf that helps bring vitality to him

And his life. Where he stands up for himself. Then it becomes more of a burden in his romance with the boss’s daughter but only after he finds out his wife is cheating on him.

It seems like they either tried to keep the horror elements on the periphery or forgot about it at times and were only interested in the dramatic thriller aspects of the story. Because it seems like there are scenes of it largely being absent, then “oh yeah” moments. 

After a while he has to deal with corporate politics and then being a suspect in his wife’s murder and trying to prove his innocence. 

While Jack Nicholson looks a little ridiculous in his wolf persona. It does make him seem more seasoned and watching him actually get into a battle as one looks a little silly but also reminds you what type of film you are watching. That tries to distinguish itself away from the fantasy elements. As it seems to look more ridiculous when it selves into them, but It’s not like it’s Corporate storyline is all that sharp about a senior getting pushed out by a younger contender who he helped train.

The film ends up playing way too long and very predictable. As the film seems to go through the motions. As it involves mostly main characters, is that a message to the audience that the older you are the more then you take? and the more thorough it must all be. 

As the film seems to want to make an example between the battles of nature and the battles in the business world and how they are similar. 

James Spader does what he does best. Where he puts on a spin on his upper-crust yuppie character image, but once we get to the third act of the movie. You can kind of predict his character arc. Even though when he starts acting peculiar the special effects give it away. Even though he doesn’t act too differently.

Considering the talent involved in this film. This should have been more memorable. As it is actually kind of forgettable. There are barely any memorable scenes. Even though Michelle Pfeiffer is the only one who has a history more with genre films out of the cast. Plus her playing in a werewolf movie after playing Catwoman is an amusing film irony.

Michelle Pfeiffer almost comes across as just another big name in a star-studded well-respected cast because while she is the female lead. She is the damsel in distress throughout most of the film or just simply the love interest. 

The special effects involved make the final fight look ridiculous. Rick Baker designed them and while One can give credit as at least they are practical effects instead of digital. 

This seems to join the ranks with THE HULK films. Just as there isn’t anyone good of those films. It’s Really hard to find a really good to outstanding Werewolf movie but you are more likely to find the latter than the earlier one. Though it is a little long in the tooth when it comes to running time 

Grade: C+