The cover of the new TIME magazine claims Daniel Day Lewis is the world's greatest actor. And the word around the campfire is that when DDL (Last of the Mohicans, There Will Be Blood) has a movie out, he's basically guaranteed 'Best Actor' at the Oscars. I'm still angry about the two hours I shot in the head watching My Left Foot when I was 11 years old however, so I say Denzel Washington is better because his movies are easier to watch — less art-fart, more Eff-Yeah! The Hurricane, Malcolm X, Training Day, American Gangster, even that runaway train movie Unstoppable — you don't need a thinking cap glued to your head to appreciate the mastery of Denzel, he's of the people for the people.
And this week he's back killing it in Flight, a raw and riveting flick about Whip Whitaker, an airline pilot who heroically saves hundreds of lives by crash-landing a doomed jetliner upside down and saves hundreds of lives but then ends up in the hot seat because he's also a raging booze-and-coke fiend who was coming off a serious bender when he showed up for work that day. It's a very relatable premise in this town, but with much higher stakes. Facing serious prison time and shame, Denzel's pilot carries the picture with a brutally perfect look at the control/cool/guilt struggles inside the mind of a serious addict.
Don Cheadle and John Goodman also star, and director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Back to the Future) proves he still has real film skills after making a string of motion-capture crap. The opening reel of Flight is one of the most tense airplane disaster scenes in cinematic history. Flight is gonna be a hit.
Speaking of, nothing hits harder than The Man with the Iron Fists. Wu-Tang Clan rapper/producer The RZA directs and also stars as a blacksmith caught in the middle of some serious clan warfare in nineteenth century China. To survive he makes weapons, really cool weapons, and then uses them to become the savior of his adopted people. Presented by Quentin Tarantino, co-written by RZA and Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever) and starring Lucy Liu and Russell Crowe, this can't be anything but good times. There were no prescreeners but that filmmaking pedigree pretty much guarantees mayhem, bloodshed, sex and violence. RZA and the Wu-Tang built a hip hop empire from their love of old Kung-Fu flicks, so seeing that manifest with contemporary action and effects is going to be one hell of a ride. Plus, Lucy Lui... so hot when she's murdering people. Remember Kill Bill?
Topping off an excellent week, Disney's Wreck-it Ralph imagines the lives behind the characters in video game worlds. Ralph is a bad-guy in a Rampage-esque game — he wrecks stuff — who is channeling the American Dream and aspires to a better position in life. He's sick of being "the bad guy" and craves the admiration and respect of a hero. So Ralph embarks on a road-trip romp through the arcade (and videogames of the ages) searching for something bigger and better. Along the way he meets some awesome characters, fights a menace and comes to realize that who you are on the outside is not always who you are on the inside and there's nothing better than being yourself.
Unless you're an actor, in which case, you have a built-in need to be someone, anyone, else. Of course, everyone knows the world's greatest actor is Gary, the marionette from Team America: World Police. Gary once used his acting to save the entire world (a.k.a. America), so TIME Magazine can suck it.