Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Reel Facts & Opinions: The End of the Lawrence/Cooper Era?

FACT: During this time of the year, the air is filled with buzz over which movies will be making a serious push into Awards Season…and perhaps one of the biggest surprises so far is the newest collaboration between Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, SERENA. The film, which was shot over two years ago, failed to pick up a major distributor and was defaulted to Magnolia, whose sister-company financed the project. Magnolia has apparently decided not to market SERENA as an Oscar contender and has set the film for a February 2015 release date, well past the deadline for Awards consideration.
OPINION: SERENA just may be one of the biggest curiosity pieces in the next five or six months, as it seemed to have all the correct ingredients to contend for Oscar gold. The match-up of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence has worked before; their films AMERICAN HUSTLE (2013) and SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2012) were critically acclaimed and gained heaps of nominations. The director, Susanne Bier, won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2010 for IN A BETTER WORLD, and the film seems to have a good story in it is based upon the best-selling novel by Ron Rush. It is entirely possible that distributors are just plain tired of Cooper and Lawrence sharing the screen together and view the film as obvious Oscar-bait (it’s only bait if it doesn’t work), but it’s also possible that all of these correct ingredients just didn’t mix right and turned out a bad movie. The latter seems more likely if we look at recent history; it was only a year ago that George Clooney’s hotly anticipated WWII drama THE MONUMENTS MEN was delayed from the Fall to Movie Siberia (February), and that film was a disaster. Both Cooper and Lawrence have proven that they can survive without each other; Lawrence has her popular franchise THE HUNGER GAMES, and Cooper has dabbled in the dramatic (THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES, 2013), and the comic-book universe (this year’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY). SERENA just may be a good reason for this relationship to take a break, or to finally go their separate ways.

What say you?

SERENA is set for release on February 26, 2015. In addition to Cooper and Lawrence, it also stars Rhys Ifans and Toby Jones.

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