Sep 17, 2014

Jennifer Lawrence in two trailers: one with Bradley Cooper, the other with lousy special effects

Jennifer Lawrence is in a couple of trailers released in the last few days. One is trending on Google, and the other is attracting a fair amount of attention from people wondering what's going on with a movie that was shot two years ago.

When Lawrence and Bradley Cooper started shooting "Serena" for director Susanne Bier, "Silver Linings Playbook" and "American Hustle" hadn't been released. Neither had "The Hunger Games." Lawrence was coming off a performance of such naturalism and power that everyone was predicting stardom for her. Cooper had hit big in "The Hangover" and "Wedding Crashers" but hadn't carried a movie as a dramatic lead.

All that changed, and fast. Lawrence won an Oscar for "Silver Linings Playbook"; Cooper was nominated. Their chemistry with each other and director David O. Russell carried right through to "American Hustle" while Lawrence became that rarest of actors, a female action star, from "The Hunger Games." (Cooper is no action star, as "The A Team" proved.)

Now the trailer for "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1" is out and full of portentous dialogue, loud music, and arrows aimed at fighter jets. It's all way too familiar (and in the case of Philip Seymour Hoffman, glimpsed sitting at a desk, way too sad). The second installment of "The Hunger Games" was much worse than the first, and it looks like the trend will continue. By the time "Mockingjay -- Part Two" arrives, everyone will be ready for it to be over.

So what happened to "Serena"?

It was delayed for more than a year while Bier, an Oscar winner for "In a Better World," completed the editing. There were rumors of problems and denials of those rumors and nothing on the release schedule until now. The film will open at the London Film Festival Oct. 13 and has a U.K. release date of Oct. 24. No U.S. date, not even a week in December for Oscar consideration.

It's all very strange given the credentials of the lead actors and director and the star power of Lawrence and Cooper. The trailer is inconclusive, although it looks like the pulpy, Gothic elements in Ron Rash's novel are on full display and the subtlety is missing. Hard to say, but not looking good. See for yourself:

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