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-

JACK (1996)

Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola
Written by: James DeMonaco & Gary Nadeau
Cinematography: John Toll
Editor: Barry Malkin

Cast: Robin Williams, Diane Lane, Jennifer Lopez, Brain Kerwin, Bill Cosby, Fran Drescher, Adam Zolotin, Todd Bosley, Jurnee Smollett,  Michael Mckean, Don Novello, Keone Young, Seth Smith, Mario Yedidia, Jer Adrianne Lelliott

Because of an unusual disorder that has aged him four times faster than a typical human being, a boy looks like a 40-year-old man as he starts fifth grade at public school after being homeschooled.


This is a feel-good movie that feels at times too artificial.

A kids movie, more from an adult’s point of view that families will enjoy. That tries to capture the winsomeness of youth but reeks of sentimentality and a kind of contempt with an over the top earnestness. That works for the audience but feels pointed and over intellectual at times just to try to explain things in a plausible way. While taking itself too seriously.

It attempts to be a feel-good film so much that it feels like a cop-out or set up to watch Robin Williams be wacky with kids while supposedly being a kid. Letting him loose to be wild and showcase his improv talent while still playing a character convincingly.

If you are a fan or completist of his works then this film is great. As I can admit a favorable bias when it comes to Robin Williams performances. This feels almost like the greatest hits collection. As it shows his range fully in character. As this is a role seemingly written for him. So it is perfect casting with him is the lead being unpredictable and always having a certain playfulness. Though as you watch you get a sense that he is better than the material. Even as the movie is more or less built around him. 

While Francis Ford Coppola tries to make the material and the film more enriched then it is or deserved to be. As to not embarrass himself. Plus gives him the chance to work with Robin Williams. Though the film Still feels disappointing as he tries to bring tone and atmosphere to the material. Just as he did in his previous for hire film THE RAINMAKER.

The film tries to show the joy of youth and ends up coming off more obvious than anything. While some comedic scenes seem misplaced even though they are supposed to be in a kind of reality seem silly more than anything.

Child actor Todd Bodley does his similar oddball schtick he did in the movie LITTLE GIANTS. Though he used his talents better in the kids film LLOYD then here.

Bill Cosby plays a supporting role as a child psychiatrist that feels more like a special guest star and is filmed in a warm loving way. That set the time for his reputation more. That watching the film now is almost sad and scary knowing what we know and scars the movie a bit. In which his performance and character are some of the better things in it.

The film is an interesting contrast of the two comedians working together though mostly in dramatic scenes.

As towards the end the film takes a more dramatic and sad turn, but it also ends up being a life-affirming film for the whole family. As even in It’s More adult scenes it comes off as silly and innocent 

The film in the end is definitely a crowd-pleaser. That you can’t help but smile and giggle at least once or twice.

Grade: C

OLD DOGS (2009)

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Directed By: Walt Becker
Written By: David Diamond & David Weissman
Cinematography By: Jeffrey L. Kimball
Editor: Ryan Folsey 


 Cast: John Travolta, Robin Williams, Rita Wilson, Lori Loughlin, Kelly Preston, Amy Sedaris, Seth Green, Bernie Mac, Matt Dillon, Ann-Margaret, Elle Bleu Travolta

Charlie and Dan have been best friends and business partners for thirty years; their Manhattan public relations firm is on the verge of a huge business deal with a Japanese company. With two weeks to sew up the contract, Dan gets a surprise: a woman he married on a drunken impulse nearly nine years before (annulled the next day) shows up to tell him he’s the father of her twins, now seven, and she’ll be in jail for 14 days for a political protest. Dan volunteers to keep the tykes, although he’s up tight and clueless. With Charlie’s help is there any way they can be dad and uncle, meet the kids’ expectations, and still land the account?

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FATHER’S DAY (1997)

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Directed By: Ivan Reitman
Written By: Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel
Based on the film “Les Comperes” written by: Francis Verber
Cinematography By: Stephen h. Burum
Editor: Sheldon Kahn & Wendy Greene Bricmont

 

CAST: Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Nastassja Kinski, Julia Louise-Dreyfus, Bruce Greenwood, Haylie Johnson, Mark McGrath, Charles Rocket, Jared Harris, Louis Lombardi, Patti D’Arbanville, Ricky Harris, Dana Gould

Jack Lawrence is a smart aleck lawyer who is one day visited by an ex-girlfriend who tells him her kid was his. Enter Dale Putley, a depressed goofball who is also a writer, meets with the same ex-girlfriend who tells him her kid is his. One day Jack and Dale meet and discover what had happened: they’ve been told the same story and now there’s a question of who the real father is. They learn their son is following a rock band called Sugar Ray around. So Jack and Dale hit the road to Sacramento and find their drunk, love-struck son. Soon after they bring him back to their hotel room, their son escapes and Jack and Dale must use teamwork to find him again, bring him home, and find out which one of them is the real father.

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NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM (2006)

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Directed By: Shawn Levy
Story & Written By: Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant
Based On The Book By: Milan Trenc
Cinematography: Guillermo Navarro
Editor: Don Zimmerman

Cast: Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino, Robin Williams, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, Jake Cherry, Ricky Gervais, Rami Malek, Kim Raver, Paul Rudd, Anne Meara, Steve Coogan 

A newly recruited night security guard at the Museum of Natural History discovers that an ancient curse causes the animals and exhibits on display to come to life and wreak havoc.

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