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No Turkeys Here

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You may not be able to save a turkey this Thanksgiving (except
for sandwiches over the weekend), but you can honor the contributions of our
feathered brethren by watching some classic films with avian heroes.

Despite Morgan Freeman’s grandfatherly narration and the
charming – and often heroic – behavior of the emperor penguins, the
Oscar-winning French documentary March of
the Penguins
can be bone-chilling, and not just because of the Antarctic
setting. Penguins travel dozens of
miles, go without sustenance for weeks at a time, face threats from leopard
seals and killer whales, and hunker down in bitter cold and powerful winds, all
for a chance to reproduce. This should help
you keep things in perspective when your relatives start getting on your
nerves.

The technology used to bring Winged Migration to the screen is nearly as fascinating as the
footage it made possible. Over three
years of production, five camera crews flew from one pole of the earth to the
other in ultra-light aircraft, helicopters and balloons, and employed remote
controlled gliders and a delta wing plane that could approach flocks of
migrating birds without disturbing them. The result is a nearly silent, breathtakingly beautiful documentary that
allows you to see the world as birds do. You’ll forget all about those four hours stranded on the tarmac.

Many families have trouble agreeing on the evening’s
entertainment, but fans of Wallace & Gromit, or Mel Gibson, or barnyard
comedy – and really, doesn’t that cover everyone? – will enjoy Chicken Run. The imperiled inhabitants of a British
chicken farm engineer a daring escape with the help of an American circus
rooster who catapults (literally) into their midst. Clever puns and cultural references abound;
the film alludes to prisoner of war pictures like Stalag 17 and The Great
Escape
, as well as Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Braveheart.

Too sweet, after all that pie?  The Birds is playing on AMC Thanksgiving night.

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