Toy Story 3TOY STORY 3

Sitting in the packed auditorium for a matinée screening of Toy Story 3, I was unsurprised to find that one of my fellow audience members was an infant who cried almost throughout the entire film. I would've been more irritated by the distraction if, for hefty chunks of the movie's opening and closing reels, I wasn't such a weepy infant myself.

Tom Hanks in Angels & DemonsANGELS & DEMONS

You may not necessarily know character actor Armin Mueller-Stahl by name, but you likely know him by sight, and almost surely by voice. Familiar from such thrillers as Eastern Promises, The Game, and the recent The International - and Oscar-nominated as David Helfgott's über-strict father in Shine - the 78-year-old German, with his closely-cropped gray hair and wizened eye slits, doesn't look much different now from how he did playing Jessica Lange's is-he-a-Nazi-or-isn't-he? dad in 1989's Music Box. And he sounds exactly the same, with that heavily accented, hoarse whisper of his; by the time the performer reaches the end of a sentence, he always seems dangerously close to running out of breath.

The Simpsons MovieTHE SIMPSONS MOVIE

The Simpsons Movie is perfect, by which I mean it's like a really good, really long episode of the show.

When the Putnam's IMAX theatre first opened its doors in 2002, the plan was to give audiences a big-screen educational experience they wouldn't forget. Yet in the past six months, you're nearly as likely to catch Beauty & the Beast or Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban at the Putnam as you are an educational opus along the lines of Everest.

James Hetfield in Metallica: Some Kind of MonsterMETALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster has the sort of title guaranteed to repel viewers who might love it the most. This warts-and-all documentary, chronicling the two-plus years devoted to creating Metallica's St. Anger CD, is like the best episode of Behind the Music ever made, offering an intimate look at the relationship between guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, and detailing the nightmare involved in getting the group recording again after a five-year hiatus. The movie will be Mecca for metal fans, yet its appeal isn't totally insular. Audiences who may be loath to sit through a doc on any heavy-metal group might not realize what directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky have fashioned here; Some Kind of Monster is one of the finest recordings of the collaborative artistic process ever committed to film, a hard-edged and endlessly fascinating look at the excruciating work that goes into the making of an album. And for those for whom documentaries are even less appealing than heavy metal, it must be said that the film is one of the funniest and most shockingly touching screen works of the year, This Is Spinal Tap with actual human beings at its core. It's a thrilling experience.

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