Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury RoadMAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Tom Hardy plays the title character in Mad Max: Fury Road, director George Miller's continuation-slash-reboot of his legendary post-apocalyptic action series that began in 1979, and a movie boasting a central figure who might be the most powerful, intimidating, and deeply empathetic ass-kicker of 21st Century cinema. It's not Hardy, but he's pretty great, too.

District 9DISTRICT 9

Director Neill Blomkamp's District 9 is a science-fiction/horror/action flick that finds a race of malnourished, understandably irate alien creatures being forcibly detained in a Johannesburg internment camp. It's also, if you can stomach the frequent bursts of bloodshed and gooey splatter, an almost insanely good time, an unapologetic "B" movie elevated to "A" status through wizardly filmmaking, macabre humor, thematic cleverness, and some of the most inventive CGI work in years.

Billy Crudup in Watchmen

WATCHMEN

In writer Alan Moore's and illustrator Dave Gibbons' graphic novel Watchmen, there's a sequence in which two of its costumed heroes, Silk Spectre II and Nite Owl II, break a third - the masked paranoid Rorschach - out of prison. And near the end of the intensely violent rescue, Rorschach delays their escape with a quick trip to the men's room.

New Ground Theatre, which this season has produced the Pulitzer Prize-winning plays Wit and Proof, will next month stage a musical about teen suicide. Not only that, but the script of said musical was written by the company's artistic director, Chris Jansen.