Nutcracker: The Motion Picture

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  • Bad acting + ridiculous fight scene = 1-star movie
    The fighting scene in this movie looks like a kids' play. The acting is laughable. The plot is full of logicall holes. This is the worst thing because it's supposed to be a detective movie. For example, the detective was able to predict what room of a building the murderer was going to kill a person by looking at the pictures of all the buildings where previous killings took place!...more info
  • The world is either great or wretched, isn't it?
    Comedy? Thriller? Suspense? I guess that these are all words or genres that you could use to describe this film. I would use these words if I wanted to gloss over the true feeling of this film. I would use these words if I had to sell this wallow-some film to a distributor who didn't know any better. I would use these words lightly, because if I ever believed them the battle would be forever lost. This was not a comedy. It was not a thriller. It definitely was not a suspense. So, what was it? After viewing this film I came to the conclusion that The January Man reminded me of a puzzle put together by a two-year-old. While all the pieces were in the box to put together, sadly the infant size brain of the child chose to smash the pieces together instead of place them in corresponding orders. Thus, you have a jumbled mess with wedged pieces of what could have been an overall beautiful picture. With poor acting, a confusing plot that literally went nowhere and an ending that felt forced and premature, one can see that this puzzle is unfixable by even the best puzzler in the world. If I were those involved with the creation, I would definitely be ashamed.

    To begin, what was wrong with the actors? Nobody seemed like they were giving 10% much less 50% of their effort for this film. Even the great ones like Keitel, Kline, and Sarandon felt like they were walking through the motions with equally confused eyes and hearts. Kline's New York accent faded in and out throughout the film giving us no glimpse of his actual character. His role was never fully defined, so the other half of the time that we watch him on screen we just don't care about him at all. This was one of the worst leading characters of all time. Thankfully, a completely miscast team that seemed more interested in the money than actually "acting" backs him up. Keitel was horrible in this film. I am a huge fan of his body of work, but in this one he walked, talked, and gave those emotionless eyes a rest. He provided nothing of value to this production. The same can be said about Sarandon, whose character seemed unfocused and undervalued, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, who never really got her feet wet in Hollywood until Maid Marion arrived at her doorstep. Alan Rickman was wasted, as well as the one-leveled voices of Danny Aiello and Rod Steiger whose only direction from Pat O'Conner was to yell. In other words, if you are interested in seeing this film for the acting, you will be greatly disappointed.

    Second, perhaps the acting can be overlooked by a strong story line? WRONG! This was the most convoluted script that I have ever seen Hollywood produce. We spend the first forty minutes learning about an event that happened two years ago that is never fully explained anyway. It reminded of those times that the teacher would say in class that we should all listen up because this wasn't going to be on the test. Then why bother. This set the spiraling downfall for the rest of the film. This unavailable information also lead to some pretty choppy chemistry between the actors. I never say Kline and Keitel as brothers. I never saw the relationship with Sarandon possible. In fact, now that I think about it, I didn't see any of the actors meshing well together because they were working with a script that was focused on all the wrong parts. Eventually, The January Man gets so caught up on this secondary story that we find ourselves rushed into an ending and a solution that seems laughable instead of plausible. We even have a villain that is so confusing that I don't even think he knew what he was doing in the film. The final thirty minutes of this film were the worst parts of this movie, second to all the parts before that. Whoever wrote this script must have just forgotten the basic rules of storytelling because nothing meshed well at all.

    Finally, I would have to comment that the marketing for this film could feel like a cheated ticket to some filmgoers. After reading some reviews for this film, I was expecting to find myself chuckling out loud at the antics of Kevin Kline and his spin on the world of investigation. I was wrong. There was no humor in this film at all. Even when O'Conner tried to bring some in, it seemed forced and unhealthy. I must repeat, this is not a comedy. It even isn't really that suspenseful, nor is the thrilling aspect actually that thrilling. I must admit that whomever sold this film to a company under the guise that it was a comedy should be awarded the "Best Salesman of the Decade" award. Somebody believed this film was funny and even pasted a preview to it with the word "comedy" written all over it. Someone sold the company a broken product ... hook, line, and sinker. I just ask you to beware.

    Overall, this film was horrible. From the poor acting, the cryptic story that needed some form of decoder ring to understand, the passionless actors, to the harshly branded word "comedy", January Man proves that not all films should be made and that an advanced screen process should be used regularly. I genuinely encourage you to skip this film. No good will come of you watching this mess. I promise.

    Grade: * out of *****...more info
  • Over-Acted.
    I'll tell you the truth - I purchased this film only so I could say I now own every movie Alan Rickman has ever done. He, as any fan will tell you, brings vivid life to every character he does. His portrayal of Ed the Artist is absolutely what I expected - well done, although the part was small.

    Now, for the rest of the movie. I have never witnessed overacting like this in my life -- not even on the high school stage. The plot was thin and disjointed, (what do Virgo, prime numbers and Neil Sedaka all have in common? Did I miss something?) and the scene where they finally catch the murderer is some of the worst acting I've seen.

    I've given it two stars strictly because of Alan Rickman's involvement in the film and because I did stick it out until the end. If you are a fan, rent this just to hear him say, "Don't molest anything-"......more info
  • Bomb, zinger, wow. can't believe it's so bad with that cast.
    Histrionic performances and horrible soundtrack, 20 minutes into this bomb I was laughing. And this is supposed to be a thriller?

    Embarrassing, overwrought performance from Rod Steiger, camp goofiness from Alan Rickman, woodenness from Harvey Keitel and seemingly satiric Boy Scoutishness from Kevin Kline...

    If you're in the mood for a laugh, turn down the sound and do your own soundtrack to this incredibly lame flick.

    ...more info
  • inventive whodunit with good acting and bad language
    This is an under-rated murder mystery with interesting, quirky characters and a very inventive solution. Kevin Kline and Alan Rickman turn in excellent performances, especially Rickman doing a dropout misfit computer expert turned artist. As a mystery buff, I found the story and most of the characters intriguing, but I also found the language aggravating. Every single character except Rickman's uses foul language constantly, and after a while this actually gets in the way of the story. It's like someone thought it would make the whole thing more realistic and less of a comedy, but it misfired. Still, it's well worth seeing; a witty, original character-driven mystery-comedy....more info
  • The January Man
    Though I bought the movie because I'm a HUGE Alan Rickman fan, I found the movie thoroughly enjoyable. Kevin Kine of course is wonderful, and very amusing. Alan Rickman is at his best as usual, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio portrays a fairly brave, courageous character willing to assist Kline's character to catch the killer at the risk of her life.

    With a touch of suspense, this movie moves along at a comfortable pace, and I must say that my favorite scene is the "stairwell scene". Absolutely hilarious!

    If you haven't seen The January Man I thoroughly recommend it. The only flaw? Not enough Alan! (But, does any movie he's in ever have enough of him? Not bloody likely!).

    Ok. After having read other's reviews of this movie and their thorough dislike of it because it was "overacted, bad, etc.", I must state that this movie is not supposed to be serious. It is a COMEDY. A semi-stupid comedy, but comedy nonetheless. I found that for what type of movie it is supposed to be, it works very well. It has a good cast (lots of stars), it doesn't take itself overly seriously, and it's just plain FUNNY!

    To those that found it disappointing? Perhaps you miss the point. It's not supposed to be a thriller and it's not supposed to be taken seriously as a thriller. In my opinion, the "bad acting" by the cast is perhaps supposed to be that way.

    As I said previously, I enjoyed the film quite a bit, and I still recommend it for Alan fans and for anyone looking for a comedy that is semi-stupid and satiristic (sp?) of "serious suspense movies".

    Take the "bad acting" with a grain of salt while watching this movie, lol. The actors certainly do!...more info
  • Too good to be called bad, too bad to be considered good
    This is one of those movies that holds your attention precisely because you are anticipating, and keep waiting for it to get better, but it just never quite comes together. Sort of like watching a drunk try to put a key in a lock- it can be annoying and yet entertaining at- the same time. And in that odd, uncomfortable emotion is the strange appeal of this work. Rod Stiger has one scene, wherein he expresses displeasure with some of Klein's antics, that is so superbly, "over-acted," I found it riveting. This movie is not for everyone, for sure, but if you can appreciate the eclectic and obtuse caricatures as being entertainment, you might just love it. If you are expecting "A Fish Called Wanda," don't bother....more info
  • Great who-done-it
    I read a review from a man who thought this was bad acting and all but Kevin Klein didn't know what they were doing.

    BOY is he off base. This is a great movie, with Klein in a different role than he is usually in. I highly recommend it....more info

  • A Man for all Seasons
    If you're like me, ever seeking ALAN RICKMAN films, like they're the Holy Grail... then, this film will be a good addition to your collection. We couldn't ask for a better cast and story line. There's a good mix of sarcasm, intimidation, and deceit in this comedic approach to serial killings. It's a dated film, but still offers the level of entertainment we're accustomed to now. Alan Rickman's character wasn't on the screen as much as I would've liked. As he's articulated in the past, there is no such thing as a small part... only small actors. He delivers THE BEST as always....more info
    This movie is not a typical "mystery thriller," at least not in the usual sense of the genre. The characters unravel intriguingly but very fluidly, and it is easy to relate to almost all of them (I bet we can all think of parallels in our own lives.)

    Theme-wise it is ostensibly presented as a suspense movie where an ex-cop (Kevin Kline) is re-instated into a homicide detective role to solve a brutal murder spree by a NY psychopath. There is an interesting subplot of unrequited romance between Kline's character and his brother's (who is commissioner of police) wife. Kline's artist friend, his new girl friend (the Mayor's daughter), and in fact the Mayor himself -- are all amusing characters. But Kline is clearly the pivot of the movie, he turned what many might consider a very below standard screenplay and turned it into a very keepable film.

    The cinematography is neat, the dialog entertainingly scattershot and the movie flows with a very good pace. Most people who revile this under-rated but actually very watchable movie do so because it doesn't fit any Hollywoodesqe molds. It is not a suspense movie alone (clearly, to me, it didn't make any overt attempts to be) -- it is also a very adult and somewhat intellectual but credible study of multiple intertwined characters.

    The ending surprised me a bit, but I don't think it was chinsy or overdone. It was probably supposed to try and imitate real life and I'd say it did so.

    And with that kind of a price tag, this is definitely a steal. Recommended!...more info

  • A major disappointment
    It's obvious that Kevin Kline was trying to capitalize on his success in "A Fish Called Wanda" when he signed on to play the lead in "The January Man."

    Sadly, the success isn't repeated.

    Kline, inspired as the crazy hit-man in "Fish," is singularly uninspired as the offbeat cop in "January." This is a cast with tons of promise, but with little plot and less script to aid them. Alan Rickman's character is potentially the most interesting, but even he lacks dimension.

    After flopping in the departments of comedy and romance, the only possible salvation for "The January Man" is its potential as a thriller. Kline does have just enough charisma to possible keep you watching all 97 dreary minutes. But beware: the ending is a complete disappointment and left me angry -- both at Kline and Co. for producing this mind-numbing junk, and at myself for wasting both time and money on such a bad movie....more info

  • A wonderful updating of the Sherlock Holmes Persona
    This is a very funny movie while at the same time, it's very riveting. You root for the good guys, you love it when the bad guys get theirs'. Kline's character is a mixture of tough love and eccentric genius. He and his love interests play well off each other. All the supporting stars around Kline do a top rate job and leave the circle unbroken. Allan Rickman is really funny as a way offbeat artist who gets roped in to helping Kline figure out where and when the serial killer is going to strike. The final scene between the killer and Kline is somewhat slapstickish but also a choreographed ballet that would make the old silent stars proud. I've watched this movie many times and I never get tired of it. I know many of the lines by heart but I can always find something small and wonderful I missed the time before. I hope Kline and this group do more of the same. This movie would love a sequel! As Allan Rickman's character, Ed, says, "I'm going to go and try to paint something original." This movie paints an original and fresh twist to the Sherlock Holmes theme and other favorite whodunit plot points as well....more info
  • Great version but Amazon's data is wrong
    This is a beautiful version and my children love it. We're anxious to see this at PNB in Seattle next year when the kids are old enough for it in-person. However, Amazon's cast list for this is totally inaccurate. No stars in this one - just PNB dancers....more info
  • How come this didn't work better?
    I ordered this, because I don't remember seeing it in Finland and because of the great actors. I mean: Kevin Kline, Harvey Keitel AND Alan Rickman! What more could a grown woman want?

    The movie uses clich¨¦s with a twist: a heroic but difficult cop (Kline) who has been unjustly sacked and is now a fireman, but - being a genius in his work - gets called back to solve mysterious killings. Of course, the police department is against the idea. But there is no choice and he starts to work in his own terms, for instance bringing along an assistant, a moody artist (Rickman in a part where he speaks very little, which is always a shame). Brother (Keitel) isn't too thrilled either, because they still love the same woman (Sarandon). Mayor's daughter (Mastrantonio) gets sucked in, because her friend is murdered.

    The movie has all the elements of comedy, humour, suspense and good actors and actresses - and still it misses something. Kline is fine as always and even in this small part Rickman makes an impression and it's hard to point out any flaws - but still it doesn't work as well as it could have.

    Anyway, the movie is entertaining, not bad at all. Harmless fun with a couple of original jokes. Kline's cooking is very odd and Rickman's use of models even more personal....more info

    What in the world happened with this clunker? You have a script from Oscar winning writer John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck); a cast any director would die for; and an initially interesting premise. But even with all that, THE JANUARY MAN is not a good movie. Shanley's script is so disjointed and the only attempt at comedy seems to be Kline's physical confrontation with the killer. It takes the movie at least thirty minutes to focus on the killings, and even then, it plods along. Shanley may have tried to hard to force the genres to work, and it shows. And director Pat O'Connor should be required to do community service for his mishandling of this talented cast. Kevin Kline, usually a strong presence in any film, plays Nick Starkey like it was an After School special--bland, unfocused and murky. Susan Sarandon, who has won an Oscar, tries to be a kind of Julia Roberts femme fatale, but she's about as seductive as a seahorse. Rod Steiger and Danny Aiello overact so badly, it's hard to believe these gentlemen have given us such good work in the past. Harvey Keitel needs to play villains if this is how he chooses to embody a "good guy" for a change. Alan Rickman's Ed is stereotypical artiste, but he at least adds some needed color to the movie. And Mary Elizabeth Mastroantonio is pathetically dull and lethargic.
    THE JANUARY MAN could have been a good thriller, but under O'Connor's awful direction and Shanley's poorly developed script, it merely becomes one of those classic examples of a good movie gone bad....more info
  • Disagree With Maltin For Once
    For the first time I can remember, I have to disagree with Leonard Maltin about a movie. Janurary Man is a good movie, in my opinion, for the very reasons that he says it isn't. The comedic parts are funny, but don't overlap into the more dramatic areas of the story and vice versa. Kevin Kline (one of my favorites) does his usual outstanding job, but Alan Rickman steals this movie. I'm not one to advise on movies....each person's tastes are different, and thank the Maker for that, but rent it...then decide for yourself. My highest rating I can give any movie is the following....."I'd buy the DVD!". The Janurary Man is one of these....more info
  • Worst film i have EVER seen in my whole life
    January Man is a film is a must see if you need to to update your film evaluation measurement scale. It is the absolute worst. You can then use it as a benchmark to reconsider other bad movies you may have seen.
    As I assume many others, I was attracted to the purchase based on the superstar cast. If one were to read the fine print, however, you could get a hint that something is wrong when you see that the film lasts 1 1/2 hours only. Unfortunately I did not read the fine print.
    This film is so absurd and bad that you truely need to wonder about the people who have posted the other reviews. Probably friends and family of the filmamaker....more info
  • Terrible, unfunny, unromantic film
    Terrible - Good actors with bad material. How do you go wrong with Kevin Kline, Susan Sarandon, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (I haven't liked her in anything else, but she was actually good here), Harvey Keitel, Rod Steiger, and Danny Aiello ? Put them in a movie with a terrible screenplay and nothing to do. Kline plays a former cop, now fireman, and brother of the New York City police commissioner (Keitel - do these two look like brothers at all - NO!), who is called back on the force to stop a serial killer. Sarandon is Keitel's wife and was Kline's lover, and Mastrantonio is falling for our Kevin. The worst (over)acting job goes to Steiger, who seethes like a rabid dog throughout the whole movie. Anyway, to catch this creep, Kline uses methods so unbelievable (not in a good way) that you'll be shaking your head. To think: this garbage was written by the same guy who wrote Moonstruck....more info
  • underrated and underappreciated
    This movie got savaged (and continues to be) when it first came out. I think that with all the talent involved, people were expecting something a lot more... mainstream. This is one of those oddball detective/crime thrillers a la The Long Goodbye or Trixie that just doesn't fit in anywhere. It blends genres together and this bugged a lot of people who just wanted a by-the-numbers story.

    Everyone in the cast is fantastic but the real standout, for me, is Alan Rickman cast totally against type as the slightly effeminate artiste (and computer genius), Ed. Rickman gets most of the best lines and steals every scene he's in. He and Kline play well off each other and it's a shame this film tanked because I'd have loved to see more adventures with these two.

    The DVD is a real disappointment. No extras. Nothing! Just dumped unceremoniously on DVD. Oh well. At least it's letterboxed!...more info

  • Intended First of a Series? I watched in complete disbelief.
    In watching the movie, I began to wonder if it was supposed to be the first of a series. I kept thinking that it was trying to be an updated version of "The Thin Man" series and so this movie was trying to establish the characters. With that reasoning, it makes sense the there a number of sub-plots that remain undeveloped and that the characters have strange relationships that go unexplained.

    However what I mostly wondered about was what they were thinking when they made this movie. This movie has done something that is truly unique. It has found ways to be bad that I have never seen in any other movie. The script is preposterous. The characters are artificial and their relationships make no sense. it is a comedy that is not funny. It is a mystery that is no suspenseful. It is thriller that is not exciting. Like others, I watched this movie in complete disbelief.
    ...more info


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