The January Man (1989)

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Released 16-Nov-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 93:14
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Pat O'Connor
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Kevin Kline
Susan Sarandon
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Harvey Keitel
Danny Aiello
Rod Steiger
Alan Rickman
Faye Grant
Kenneth Welsh
Jayne Haynes
Brian Tarantina
Bruce MacVittie
Bill Cobbs
Case ?
RPI $14.95 Music Marvin Hamlisch


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Polish
Hungarian
Greek
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Oh Dear! What the hell happened here? It would seem the plan was......

    I am only guessing, but if that isn't what happened then it was just as dumb in some other way. This film is not thrilling and it's not funny, both of which I guess it is supposed to be. Let's talk about the cast because they are an impressive list:

    How do you possibly make a bad film with this cast? Well, the answer is that you make The January Man.

    Two years before the movie starts, Nick left the police force under a cloud of corruption, although he seems to have been set up. Twelve women have been murdered in the last year, in very similar circumstances. The Mayor decides that Nick should be reinstated to head up the investigation, and he tells Frank Starkey to make it happen, much to the anger of Frank and Captain Alcoa. The Mayor's daughter, Bernadette, is the last person to have seen the last victim alive. Nick agrees to come back if he can control how things are done, and cook dinner for Christine. He decides to hire Ed as his assistant, and somehow the struggling artist miraculously becomes a computer expert. Nick and Ed work on tracking down the killer with the assistance of Bernadette, with whom Nick has started a relationship. There is also a subplot about corruption which never gets resolved. Make any sense yet? No, well it didn't to me either.

    The film is a mishmash of styles, from thriller (which it feels like most of the time) to relationship drama and then attempted comedy, especially during the action scenes. Weird.

    Kevin Kline just did not work for me as the tough detective and his eccentricities just made him seem weird. Harvey Keitel seems to have lost the key to the intensity cupboard and just sleepwalks through the movie. Rod Steiger (complete with bizarre fright wig) is completely over the top and chews the sets relentlessly. Alan Rickman is just completely wasted. Susan Sarandon has very little to do, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio appears in the very few believable scenes, the ones with just her and Kevin Kline.

    This might be interesting if you like seeing Hollywood disasters to try to understand how these things get made, but otherwise I cannot recommend it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is quite good but is nothing spectacular.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is probably the original aspect ratio although I cannot confirm this. It is the same ratio in all regions. The disc also has automatic pan & scan information, if you hate black bars.

    The picture was generally clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise, although it certainly was not crisp. There was some light grain throughout. The shadow detail was pretty good and as most scenes occurred at night, this is helpful.

    The colour was generally good, however, it could not be referred to as vibrant. The colour scheme of the film, mostly greys, blacks and other dark colours is the main reason for this.

    There were very few artefacts present, only some minor black specks here and there and one spot of aliasing on a shirt at 71:30.

    There are subtitles in 9 languages including English & German for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear, easy to read and fairly exact to the spoken word.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is good.

    This DVD contains five audio options, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s and the same in German, French, Spanish & Italian. The soundtrack is fairly quiet, and I had to set my amplifier at 10dB above my normal reference level for the dialogue to be clearly audible.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand (once the volume was turned up) and there was no problem with audio sync. Occasionally louder moments of the score threatened to drown out the dialogue.

    The score of this film by Marvin Hamlisch is good stuff, adding to what little tension and suspense there is. During the supposedly comic scenes it is appropriately jaunty.

    The surround speakers did occasionally add some atmosphere, especially for the music, when played with Dolby ProLogic II.

    The subwoofer was not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu included a still for the film and a scene selection function.

Theatrical Trailer (1:22)

    A decent trailer (with swearing removed). It ends with the words Murder, Corruption, Comedy which only vaguely apply to this film.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The film is available in Region 1 & Region 2 in the same format. It's a draw.

Summary

    This disc contains a very ordinary thriller comedy with a top line cast.

    The video quality is quite good.

    The audio quality is good.

    The disc has only a theatrical trailer as an extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
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