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Top Picks: 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' on DVD and Blu-ray, an opportunity to save a turkey, and more

PBS airs the films 'Indian Relay' and 'Young Lakota' to celebrate Native American Heritage Month, Oliver Stone's 'JFK' arrives on Blu-ray with new features and footage, and more top picks.

By Staff / November 15, 2013

Lincoln@Gettysburg

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Native American Month

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In honor of Native American Heritage Month in November, PBS offers two films. The first, Indian Relay, about the rarely seen horse competition that brings tribes together to race their steeds, airs Nov. 18. Young Lakota, about a young native American working for women’s rights, airs Nov. 25. They are part of the “Independent Lens” series.

Verdi in Hollywood

It’s hard to imagine a better combo of big-time musical names and places than Verdi, Gustavo Dudamel, and The Hollywood Bowl. They come together on this new DVD release of Dudamel conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic performing Verdi’s Requiem. The Los Angeles Master Chorale brings this massive work to life in a triumphant evening in the world’s largest natural amphitheater. You can experience this musical extravaganza honoring the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth with the DVD and Blu-ray release from Naxos of America.

Linger in Middle Earth

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition – available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3-D – brings viewers back to the hobbit holes and goblin mines of Middle Earth for a longer stay. This version offers 13 minutes of new scenes and nine hours of bonus features, including a deep dive into the elaborate props and digital wizardry that brought J.R.R. Tolkien’s world to life.

Grace for turkeys

If you would like to honor a Thanksgiving turkey with something other than your appetite, the nation’s largest farm animal protection group, Farm Sanctuary, has a fowl for you. Over 25 years, the annual Adopt a Turkey Project has rescued more than 1,000 birds and given them a New York or California retreat home for life. Follow the lead of “Free Birds” spokesturkeys Reggie and Jake (voiced by Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson) this holiday season.

So that a nation might live

Picture America’s most iconic president in his stovepipe hat, tap-tap-tapping the telegraph from his high-tech command center – the War Department Telegraph Office – to quarterback the Civil War. That’s the image you’ll get from PBS’s Lincoln@Gettysburg on the 150th anniversary of his historic speech. In 1863, Lincoln was mastering what the network calls the Internet of his day to collect battle movements of the enemy and direct his own generals – to the decided chagrin of some. Narrated by David Strathairn, it airs Nov. 19 at 9 p.m.

JFK conspiracy theories

Marking the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Oliver Stone’s controversial JFK comes out in a newly expanded Blu-ray version. For fans who appreciate Stone’s willingness to propose new perspectives on familiar history, the 50 Year Commemorative Ultimate Collector’s Edition offers the director’s cut with 17 additional minutes of footage, as well as three compelling short documentaries on DVD (“JFK: To the Brink,” the new “JFK Remembered: 50 Years Later,” and “John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums”) and the feature film “PT 109,” about Kennedy’s days as a torpedo boat captain.

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