Criterion in January 2019: MIKEY AND NICKY, 4 MONTHS, 24 FRAMES, NOTORIOUS, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT

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Criterion in January 2019: MIKEY AND NICKY, 4 MONTHS, 24 FRAMES, NOTORIOUS, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT

The new calendar year brings a quintet of anguished delights for home video cinephiles from the Criterion Collection.

Yes, what better way to recuperate from the expected winter holiday hangovers than by settling back and reassessing your life by watching Elaine May's Mikey and Nicky? Gangster movies were never the same after this little-seen (at the time) 1976 classic, starring John Cassavetes and Peter Falk.

Or, if you want to spend 24 hours clenching your stomach -- that would be stretching the truth, the movie is less than two hours in length -- why not set aside time with your family to watch two roommates trying to secure an abortion for one of them in 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, courtesy of director Christian Mungiu?

Or, watch the final film by Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, 24 Frames, in which the famed filmmaker seeks to bridge the world of photography and moving pictures.

If any of that sounds too intense, may I suggest Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious for a delightful thriller filled with "suspense and passion"? Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Claude Rains -- I fear I've already oversold the movie.

For those who prefer starting off their year with a politically-conscious movie, step back into the 1960s and allow Norman Jewison's In the Heat of the Night to seep into your pores. You'll be sweating in no time, along with the characters, in this charged-up drama starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger.

More information, along with details on the special features included with each disk, can be found at the Criterion website.

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Abbas KiarostamiAlfred HitchcockChristian MungiuCriterionCriterion CollectionElaine MayNorman Jewison