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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Camp Paradise!
I LOVE this film. It's guaranteed to make you feel good and laugh until you hurt. If you haven't seen this film, I can't recommend it highly enough. It's one for a Saturday night in with the girls (or boys) and a bottle or two of wine! You truly won't be disappointed.
Published on 27 Oct 2005 by floydy1976

versus
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars LIke Nine Months, less better than the French original
I think I understand why the critical review has been mediocre -- it's likely because critics keep comparing 'The Birdcage' with the original 'La Cage Aux Folles'. I wish critics would rate a movie for what it is, and not for what it compares to. 'The Birdcage' as a stand-alone movie is witty, funny, silly, and entertaining. And that's what makes it so enjoyable! It's one...
Published on 23 Jun 2007 by Jay


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Camp Paradise!, 27 Oct 2005
This review is from: The Birdcage [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
I LOVE this film. It's guaranteed to make you feel good and laugh until you hurt. If you haven't seen this film, I can't recommend it highly enough. It's one for a Saturday night in with the girls (or boys) and a bottle or two of wine! You truly won't be disappointed.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outrageous With a Huge Range Of Talent, 11 Jan 2003
By 
taking a rest - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Birdcage [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
Talent alone does not assure a great film or even a good film. When there is a great tale and a great cast, all that is needed for a wonderful film is in hand, and, 'The Birdcage", has the needed ingredients in abundance. Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane, Diane Wiest, and Robin Williams are just the start of an exceptional ensemble cast. Dan Futterman does a wonderful job as the son who is about to marry a young woman in the film, who has since become very well known as the star of, "Ally Mcbeal", Calista Flockhart. An in a performance that deserves to be mentioned on its own, Hank Azaria steals virtually every scene he appears in.
Gene Hackman is a US Senator that is so conservative that he thinks Robert Dole is not only dark but too liberal, and even the Pope is too controversial. Now take his daughter who is going to marry Val no matter what her parents feel, and add that both of Val's parents are men, you can imagine the fireworks. The male couple is comprised of Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, and they are as funny a duo as have played onscreen together. I hope another film or perhaps a theater opportunity presents itself for these two actors to work together, as they are brilliant, both alone and as a pair.
Much of the film surrounds a massive effort at deception and takes large roundhouse swipes at every political cliché, the more to the right or left, the more damage the position will suffer. The film is an absolute riot from beginning to end; you will be hard pressed to find a funnier one hour and 59 minutes of comedy with a cast of this caliber in another film.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It!!, 22 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Birdcage [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
A great build up to the worlds greatest dinner party. Has the odd slow moment, but what film doesn't? A truly funny comedy that makes no pretence about trying to be witty or saying something it isn't. Robin Williams is fantastic, but I have to say that Nathan Lane as Albert/Mrs Coldman really steals the show.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Birdcage [Blu-ray], 22 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Birdcage [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The Birdcage [Blu-ray] Robin Williams and Nathan lane team up with a top-notch cast in this hilarious comedy. Robin Williams as Armand, a gay cabaret owner whose son announces he's marrying the daughter of a right-wing politician [Gene Hackman]. It's an outrageously funny culture clash as Armand and his drag-queen partner Albert [Nathan lane] try to transform themselves into straight shooters at a dinner party and pull the chiffon over the eyes of the uptight senator and his wife [Dianne Wiest].

Cast: Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Hank Azaria, Gene Hackman, Dianne Wiest, Calista Flockhart, Christine Baranski and Dan Futterman

Director: Mike Nichols

Producer: Mike Nichols

Screenplay: Elaine May

Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki

Music: Mark Mothersbaugh and Jonathan Tunick

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish: 2.0 Dolby Digital, French: 5.1 Dolby Digital and Italian: 5.1 DTS

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and Italian

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Region: All Regions

Running Time: 119 minutes

Number of discs: 1

Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Andrew's Blu-ray Review - The Birdcage is a remake of the 1978 French comedy La Cage aux Folles. This 1996 Americanised reworking features a star-studded cast including Robbin Williams, Gene Hackman, and Christine Baranski. It plays out like an episode of some sort of sit-com you might see on TV, basically revolving around a disastrous dinner being held by a gay couple (played by Williams and Nathan Lane) posing as straight men in order to impress the very-conservative parents of his son's fiancé.

Set in a hugely exaggerated South Beach, Miami, and full of stereotypes, The Birdcage is a very funny and witty comedy about the values of homosexuality. Now, I never usually like to quote others in a break-down of a movie - yes, a lot of the gay men you see in this movie are the flamboyant stereotype, but so perfectly put it: the film goes "beyond the stereotypes to see the character's depth and humanity".

Nathan Lane plays Albert Goldman. He (or "she" as Albert would prefer to be called) is married to cabaret owner Armand [Robin Williams], and is the star drag queen of Armand's nightclub show. Lane has spot-on comedic timing, and The Birdcage perfectly puts on show his talent as a very quick-witted comedian. Here, he plays his role deliberately over-the-top in excessive drama-queen fashion. He is just hilarious.

Hank Azaria, who plays Armand and Albert's Guatemalan housemaid, is a brilliant character actor; and Gene Hackman is good too, and seems to be more than happy to play along with it all. However, the movie isn't without its flaws, albeit minor ones. Are we really supposed to believe that Calista Flockhart, who was about 30 at the time of filming, is an 18-year-old in this movie? Same goes for Dan Futterman, who was 27 and played Armand's soon-to-be-married 20-year-old son Val. They fail to convince, and never once had me fooled. The movie is also so obviously shot in sound stages, which only pulls you away from the exuberant Miami setting. Nevertheless, with a top-of-his-game Robin Williams in the lead, and some very witty dialogue (especially on controversial topics like abortion), The Birdcage is an outrageously hilarious feel-good comedy with a nice sentiment at its heart.

Blu-ray Video Quality - Presented in an enhanced 1.85:1 and the image quality is stunning, and I did not notice any problems with the film used for the transfer, or anything from the transfer process itself. The club run by the Goldman's is a feast for the eyes, presenting a dazzling array of colours, whilst maintain a deep black level for the unlit backstage areas.

Blu-ray Audio Quality - 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment presents the film in a stunning 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and you wouldn't expect much surround activity due to space limitations, and you'd be right. The nightclub and crowd scenes are about the only times you'll get anything from your rear speakers, but then it's not the type of film that needs big surround effects. Honestly, I think it could've gotten away with non-discrete rear channels. Dialogue and overall volume was nicely balanced, once I had things set the remote stayed put for the film, even during the musical numbers in the club that are at a slightly higher volume. Audio synching was good, the only noticeable bug-bears being the singing in the opening number, but that seems fairly common to audio-playback material.

Blu-ray Special Feature and Extras:

Theatrical Trailer

Finally, this is a brilliant funny film and a definite homage to the original French film. I remember seeing the trailer when it had its cinema release and not thinking a great deal of it, but it's definitely in the category of films where the trailer does not do the film justice. Williams and Lane simply shine on screen. A story more about family and diversity than homosexuality, it would make good (mature) family viewing and withstands watching more than once. Highly Recommended. We in the UK are very lucky to get this premiere Blu-ray release and will be interested to see if it gets a US release in the near future? Of course the original classic French film was totally unique, but this American version is a very good compromise and I am so proud to have it in my Blu-ray Collection and is good enough for a repeat viewing, as each time you see something different. Enjoy.

Andrew C. Miller - Your Ultimate No.1 Film Trailer
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How can anyone not fine this funny!, 31 Aug 2007
By 
This review is from: The Birdcage [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
Robin Williams is an amazing actor, especially when he's playing the straight man, so to speak. After watching this last night I realize that he is the god of comic timing during the time when so many comic gay films hit the scene and the "BIRDCAGE" showcases his comedic talent in a new way for most people, by constraining it. His performance and Nichols firm direction anchor what could have been nothing more than a string of clichés. Lane plays "the woman" in their relationship, giving Williams the chance to play one of few straight roles he's ever had...so to speak.

He plays Armand, a gay nightclub owner, who lives in South Beach with his "wife" Albert, played by Nathan Lane. Armand is certainly the less effeminate of the two, but no one could mistake him for a heterosexual man. They are very happy and have a fairly unexciting life - that is until Armand's son Val (he was conceived in a dalliance years before so that Armand and Albert could have a family) announces that he's engaged. The only problem is that his fiancée is the daughter of an extreme right-wing senator, played by Gene Hackman, for whom the lives of his potentially new in-laws would create quite a problem on re-election day.

As one would expect, chaos ensues when they try to convince the senator and his wife, played by Dianne Wiest, over dinner that they are a regular, happy, non-Jewish, heterosexual family. It's one close call after another mainly due to the bumbling of their houseboy Agadar Sparticus (in a brilliant comic turn by Hank Azaria). The dinner turns out to be just soup, which Spartacus serves in less than appropriate soup bowls. Albert, made-up as a woman and pretending to be Val's mother, talks the senator's ear off, telling him exactly what he wants to hear while spinning yarns about their past, neither Armand nor Val can keep up with.

The performances are dead-on funny, without ever going over the top. Williams gives one of his more subtle performances. I know he's playing gay, but he is very touching as a man who's proud of his life, but hides it and pretends to be somebody else because he loves his son. Nathan Lane is spectacular. Albert is so sweet and vulnerable; you can't help but love him. He really tries to help, though it rarely works out like he plans. Gene Hackman also stretches his comedy muscles, while taken in by Lane's cross-dressing turn. "The Birdcage" is a comedy about family, honesty and frankly, just being proud of who you are. It is worth watching for the dinner scene alone. If this film doesn't make your sides split with laughter, you don't know what funny is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars La Cages Aux Folles by another name, 4 Oct 2010
By 
Dereck Cross (Hertfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Birdcage [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
I came to this film rather late (about five years too late). I own a copy of the original French film 'La Cages Aux Folles' and I know the musical version very well indeed. I bought this a couple of months ago and was knocked for six by it. This version takes place in the USA with American characters played by such mega stars as Gene Hackman, Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. Williams gives a cracking performance in his role of the nightclub owner and partner to Nathan Lane. His portrayal of the various feelings felt by his character is astounding, particularly during the visit to his home by the Senator (Gene Hackman) and his wife. Nathan Lane excels in his role as the drag queen and again shows incredible acting ability. I believe that this film has already taken over $100,000,000 in the US alone, so that must prove that it is one not to be missed. I particularly love the opening film sequence as the camera comes in from the sea a long way off, approaches the beach and then goes right in through the front of the nightclub in one continuous shot. A really good piece of entertainment and highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Funniest Films Ever, 20 July 2007
By 
Mrs. Jennifer B. Hilton "film fan" (Norwich, Norfolk, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Birdcage [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
This film is proof that an excelent actor doesn't have to resort to slapstick, foul language or loudmouth behavior to be funny. There is nothing to offend at all which is a mirical in itself these days.This film is a laugh from almost the first moment, I would never have envisaged any of the actors being so great at being camp or at crossdressing but they really are excellent!! I have seen this film several times and have decided to buy it as it is one of the few films I can watch again and again, if you do not own it you should!!!!!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "…I Hate It When 'You' Get Hysterical!" - The Birdcage on BLU RAY (2014), 26 May 2014
By 
Mark Barry "Mark Barry" - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: The Birdcage [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The thing about "The Birdcage" is that you forget how funny it is – and not just sporadically either – but all of the time. Maybe "Airplane" or "Some Like It Hot" comes close to it – but Mike Nichols' 1996 United Artists remake is one of those great films – a pick-me-up that will have you howling with helpless and delicious laughter for its entire duration.

Principal in its success are two things - the spot-on casting - and Elaine May’s screenplay. The movie boats a razor-sharp re-working of an already well-honed play called "La Cage Aux Folles" by Jean Poiret - first staged in 1973 - then made into a celebrated French/Italian film farce in 1978. Nichols simply updates the Euro references to American ones - and adds clever jabs at double standards to spice up the very funny set pieces.

Robin Williams and Nathan Lane play middle-aged gay lovers – the wildly camp Armand and Albert Goldman – flamboyant toasts of the Florida sun, sand and sex set. They wear garish shirts, gold jewellery and foundation trowelled onto their cheeks to look younger. Armand owns the Miami South Beach nightclub "The Birdcage" where Albert is "Starina" – their principal drag queen attraction who comes on after a transvestite troupe has done their best Sister Sledge "We Are Family" mime. Men are called Beatrice and Dante and their live-in South American maid is Agador – a man so camp Liberace would blush – boogieing in the kitchen area to Gloria Estefan’s Spanish rhythms with a sweeping brush, a wig, denim hot pants and a padded bra (a fabulous comedic turn by Hank Azaria). Apart from Starina’s odd hysterical outburst about being "fat and hideous" – most nights in the club are a form of bare-bottomed costume mayhem – where no one is afraid to be open - no matter what their preference may be - or what anyone else thinks.

But twenty years back – when Armand was finding his sexuality – he had an affair with a career-obsessed Katherine Archer (Christine Baranski) and their union produced a divorce and sole custody of their son Val. 20-year old Val (Dan Futterman) now arrives at The Birdcage one night to inform Pop that he’s getting married to the woman of his dreams – a 19-year old Barbara Keeley (Calista Flockhart) – daughter of Senator Kevin Keeley. Dad is none too pleased because he thinks the lad is too young – but that’s the least of his problems.

Barbara’s father is a twat – a boorish right-wing politician who hates anything that isn’t homely and decent ("It's porno…not pronto…" he says into his Dictaphone). When his equally moralizing television sparring partner Senator Eli Jackson of the 'Committee For Moral Order' dies on him during election time – caught in bed with a minor who is both black and a prostitute – Keeley and his wife Louise (Dianne Wiest) spot that the wedding would be a great way to deflect the press army camped outside their home waiting on a comment from Mr. and Mrs. Family Values. "If necessary – we'll get the Pope's blessing – it's not that hard!" his wife offers helpfully as her husband munches down on chocolate – his chosen way of calming his nerves.

Unfortunately young Barbara has also been economical with the truth and told her Senator parents that her Val's Mum and Dad are 'in the arts'. She's even suggested that Armand is The Cultural Attaché To Greece and Albert his wife. So the Conservative Keeleys head down to Florida in a car (pursued by press hounds looking for a juicy story) – not knowing Armand and Albert’s sexual preferences let alone dress-sense. Armand and Albert have only hours to become fully-fledged straight men to ensure the young couple’s happiness. Cue the toning down of their rampantly gay mannerisms, removal of phallus-shaped furniture, Neptune statues (in fact anything with a willy on it) – and in comes a large crucifix and net curtains.

As you can imagine - the one-liners and double-entendres come fast and furious. When Barbara reveals she’s been sleeping with Val – Dad grimaces and says - "Has he been tested?" When Albert suspects that Armand is having an affair because there’s white wine in the fridge when they both only drink red – he hysterically demands - "I Want A Palimony Agreement! And I Want One Now!" Always suffering for his art – Albert sits at his dresser with a Philishave and a Powder Puff bemoaning his artistic fate "…If it wasn’t for the Pirin tablets – I don’t think I could go on!" Little does he know that they’re really Aspirins Agador has scraped the AS off.

You might think that all this hilarity is at the expense of homosexuality – long the target of many a Hollywood cheap shot. But like "Behind The Candelabra" – this is a film that laughs 'with' the camp – and not 'at' it. And while Robin Williams is his usual brave fabulous self – it’s Nathan Lane who steals every scene – comic and brilliant ever second he’s on camera. The scene in an outdoor Miami restaurant where Armand (Williams) tries to teach Albert (Lane) how to be a 'man' is just ball-breakingly funny – including great observations about sticking out his Pinkie Ring as he sips tea, macho talk about American football and even how John Wayne walks. Albert yelps and screams and constantly acts like a balding short fat woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown ("You look hagard Agador! Take these supplements – I bought them for Armand – but that’s all over now!”) And conveniently – his agony is always 'someone else’s fault' (dialogue above). Even when he does finally dress as a hetro for the sake of Val’s future happiness – he can’t help slipping in pink socks under the trousers of a butch suit.

Not to be outdone in the funny stakes – both Gene Hackman and Diane Wiest are fair game too. The dinner scene has Albert dressed up as Armand’s opinionated wife – all Jackie Kennedy couture jackets and handbags - waltzing with an admiring Gene Hackman to Frank Sinatra’s "I Could Have Danced All Night". In order to avoid detection - Hackman and Wiest later dress up as a woman and a butch dominatrix in the final nightclub scene (joining the enemy and all that). It’s so funny – you may find yourself reaching for the sedative cabinet.

The BLU RAY is defaulted to 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio so the picture fills the entire screen (no bars top or bottom) – and I’m thrilled to say that the print is a major improvement on the DVD. I always felt the DVD had a slight pallor – a hazy lack of definition. But right from the opening credits as the camera pushes in to the Miami coastline and then to The Birdcage club itself (with the Sister Sledge "We Are Family" song playing as it does) - it’s obvious that there’s real improvement in focus and clarity. And it pretty much stays that way for the duration. The scene where Val reveals to Armand that he’s getting married is staggeringly clear. The only slight softness I noticed was inside the club – but even then - that’s natural grain – and how it was filmed. The big let down however is the complete lack of Extras – only a crappy Theatrical Trailer – when this is a film that screamed out for retrospective features.

Audio is DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0, French Dolby Digital 5.1 and Italian DTS 5.1 - while Subtitles are in English For The Hard Of Hearing, Spanish and Italian (it doesn’t say much of this on the outer box - but they are on the menu).

"There’s 150 people out there and half of them are Kennedys…" Armand tells Albert as he tries to convince him to go on stage - one more time.

Convince yourself to own this fabulous and life-affirming comedic gem on BLU RAY. You’ll be in the pink when you do…
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 20 July 2011
By 
M. A. Sutcliffe "peppa2" (Lancashire England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Birdcage [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
I have watched this film so many times but never tire of it. Robin Williams and Nathan Lane are brilliant in their characters. If you've never seen it.....You don't know what you're missing. Really one of the funniest films ever!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just as good, if not better, than the original, 7 July 2011
By 
Philoctetes (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Birdcage [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
for an English language audience, certainly. The reason: the same scriptwriters for both, but of course in English you don't have to keep glancing down at the subtitles. If anything, I'd say the remake is more emotionally engaging. The dinner party scene is just as funny, although Michel Serrault's transvestitism is more hilarious in 1978 for being so hysterical, and the politician in the original more petty tyrannical and so the deception more clearly justified than in the US version. Perhaps the whole idea is just too absurd no matter what era or country, but it is a funny one.
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