Criterion Announces January 2019 Releases

Which of these will you add to your video library in 2019?
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Criterion rings in the new year with few titles that would look good in your collection.  They are Abbas Kiarostami 24 Frames, Elaine May's Mikey and Nicky, Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, and Norman Jewison's In the Heat of the Night.  Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious is getting a Blu-ray upgrade.  Read on to learn more about them.

24 Frames (#956) out Jan 8

For what would prove to be his final film, Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami gave himself a challenge: to create a dialogue between his work as a filmmaker and his work as a photographer, bridging the two art forms to which he had dedicated his life. Setting out to reconstruct the moments immediately before and after a photograph is taken, Kiarostami selected twenty-four still images-most of them stark landscapes inhabited only by foraging birds and other wildlife-and digitally animated each one into its own subtly evolving four-and-a-half-minute vignette, creating a series of poignant studies in movement, perception, and time. A sustained meditation on the process of image making, 24 Frames is a graceful and elegiac farewell from one of the giants of world cinema. The special features are:

  • 2K digital master, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with director Abbas Kiarostami's son Ahmad Kiarostami, who helped finish the film after his father's death
  • New conversation between Iranian film scholar Jamsheed Akrami and film critic Godfrey Cheshire
  • New short documentary about the making of the film by Abbas Kiarostami collaborator Salma Monshizadeh
  • Trailer

Notorious (#137) out Jan 15

cc Notorious.jpgWith this twisting love story, Alfred Hitchcock summoned darker shades of suspense and passion by casting two of Hollywood's most beloved stars starkly against type. Ingrid Bergman stars as Alicia, an alluring woman of ill repute recruited by Devlin (Cary Grant), a suave but mysterious intelligence agent, to spy for the U.S. Only after she has fallen for Devlin does she learn that her mission is to seduce a Nazi industrialist (Claude Rains) hiding out in South America. Coupling inventive cinematography with brilliantly subtle turns from his mesmerizing leads, Hitchcock orchestrates an anguished romance shot through with deception and moral ambiguity. A thriller of rare perfection, Notorious represents a pinnacle in both its director's legendary career and the pantheon of classic Hollywood cinema. The special features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentaries from 1990 and 2001 featuring Alfred Hitchcock scholar Marian Keane and film historian Rudy Behlmer
  • New interview with Hitchcock biographer Donald Spoto
  • New program about the film's visuals with cinematographer John Bailey
  • New scene analysis by film scholar David Bordwell
  • Once Upon a Time . . . "Notorious," a 2009 documentary about the film featuring actor Isabella Rossellini; filmmakers Peter Bogdanovich, Claude Chabrol, and Stephen Frears; and others
  • New program about Hitchcock's storyboarding and previsualization process by filmmaker Daniel Raim
  • 1948 newsreel footage of actor Ingrid Bergman and Hitchcock
  • 1948 Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of Notorious, starring Bergman and Joseph Cotten
  • Trailers and teasers

Mikey and Nicky (#957) out Jan 22

cc Mikey and Nicky.jpgElaine May crafted a gangster film like no other in the nocturnal odyssey Mikey and Nicky, capitalizing on the chemistry between frequent collaborators John Cassavetes and Peter Falk by putting them on-screen together as small-time mobsters whose lifelong relationship has turned sour. Set over the course of one night, this restless drama finds Nicky holed up in a motel after the boss he stole money from puts a hit on him. Terrified, he calls on Mikey: the one person he thinks can save him. Scripted to match the live-wire energy of its stars-alongside supporting players Ned Beatty, Joyce Van Patten, and Carol Grace - and inspired by real-life characters from May's childhood, this unbridled portrait of male friendship turned tragic is an unsung masterpiece of American cinema. The director-approved special features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Elaine May, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New program on the making of the film featuring interviews with producer Michael Hausman, distributor Julian Schlossberg, and actor Joyce Van Patten
  • New interviews with critics Richard Brody and Carrie Rickey
  • Audio interview from 1976 with actor Peter Falk
  • Trailer

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (#958) out Jan 22

cc 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days.jpgRomanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu shot to international prominence with this rigorously realistic Palme d'Or-winning second feature. In 1987, during the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu, college roommates Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) and Găbita (Laura Vasiliu) seek an illegal abortion for Găbita. In unflinching but empathetic detail, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days recounts the events of twenty-four perilous hours in their lives, culminating in their encounter with a manipulative and menacing abortionist (Vlad Ivanov). With powerful performances that accentuate the characters' flawed humanity, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is a gutting account of the impossible choices women face when taking control of their bodies means breaking the law. The director-approved special features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, supervised and approved by director Cristian Mungiu, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with Mungiu
  • New interview with film critic Jay Weissberg on the New Romanian Cinema
  • Press conference from the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, featuring Mungiu; director of photography Oleg Mutu; and actors Laura Vasiliu, Vlad Ivanov, and Alexandru Potocean
  • The Romanian Tour, a short documentary from 2007 on the film's reception in Romania
  • Alternate and deleted scenes
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation

In the Heat of the Night (#959) out Jan 29

cc In the Heat of the Night.jpgPassing through the backwoods town of Sparta, Mississippi, Philadelphia detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) becomes embroiled in a murder case. He forms an uneasy alliance with the bigoted police chief (Rod Steiger), who faces mounting pressure from Sparta's hostile citizens to catch the killer and run the African American interloper out of town. Director Norman Jewison splices incisive social commentary into this thrilling police procedural with the help of Haskell Wexler's vivid cinematography, Quincy Jones's eclectic score, and two indelible lead performances-a career-defining display of seething indignation and moral authority from Poitier and an Oscar-winning master class in Method acting from Steiger. Winner of five Academy Awards, including for best picture, In the Heat of the Night is one of the most courageous Hollywood films of the civil rights era. The special features are:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with director Norman Jewison
  • New interview with actor Lee Grant
  • New interview with Aram Goudsouzian, author of Sidney Poitier: Man, Actor, Icon
  • Audio commentary from 2008 featuring Jewison, Grant, actor Rod Steiger, and cinematographer Haskell Wexler
  • Turning Up the Heat: Movie-Making in the '60s, a 2008 program about the production of the film and its legacy, featuring Jewison, Wexler, producer Walter Mirisch, and filmmakers John Singleton and Reginald Hudlin
  • Quincy Jones: Breaking New Sound, a 2008 program about Jones's innovative soundtrack, including its title song sung by Ray Charles, featuring interviews with Jones, lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman, and musician Herbie Hancock
  • Trailer

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