Monitor picks

March of the Penguins (G)

Feeling a deep winter chill this year? Melt your heart watching "March of the Penguins," a documentary about the emperor penguins of Antarctica as they trek over 70 miles of snow and ice to mate and reproduce. These plucky birds and their tender devotion to their one single egg are guaranteed to banish the winter blues from even the coldest soul.

Jeremiah Johnson (PG)

On the way to becoming a mountain man, the greenhorn settler in the title (Robert Redford) fishes barehanded in an icy stream and, in deep snow, wrestles a series of Crow Indians bent on dispatching him. Summers are fleeting and Johnson rarely warms up, even when he's laboring to pry a Hawkins rifle from the hands of a deep-frozen unfortunate named Hatchet Jack. This 1972 film was the second of seven Redford collaborations with director Sydney Pollack.

Little Women (PG)

It's Christmas, Father's at war, and the girls and their mother busy themselves with toasty fireside activities and bundled-up adventures outdoors. Whether you plumb for the version with Katharine Hepburn (1933) or Winona Ryder (1994) in the lead as Jo March, the film adaptations of this Louisa May Alcott classic conjure all that is enchanting about a New England winter.

Dead of Winter (R)

This 1987 psychological thriller, in which Oscar-winner Mary Steenburgen plays three roles, is a Hitchcock wannabe set in a snowbound country house where an unemployed actress has been enticed for a film audition. (Her mother should have told her never to accept roles from strangers.) While a blizzard churns outside, the heroine finds herself forced to partake in a blackmail scheme. A mystery with cold-snap scares.

The Winter Guest (R)

Four pairs are the focus of this winter-swept film set in Scotland. Frances (Emma Thompson), a grieving widow, and her brusque mother Elspeth (Phyllida Law) are the centerpiece of a film that explores issues surrounding life and death, and how the young and old work through them together.

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