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The torch is passed?



Angelina Jolie had me at that swimming pool scene in Hackers and over the past 11 years she's been mentioned in this column 79 times. Magnificent actress, nurturing human being, pilot, mother, hot-ass ninja... but Angie doesn't make as many films these days (she's got five or six kids and is married to Brad Pitt, who has the time?)

So we're moving on. Angelina is still the Queen of everything but there has been another hot actress making things happen lately. Jennifer Lawrence is rewriting the book on how to be awesome and she has two big flicks coming out in the next couple months, starting with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which rolls into the Whistler Village 8 next Thursday, Nov. 21, and I'm into it.

Sure, Catching Fire is directed by I Am Legend's Francis Lawrence and looks like a pretty good mix of action, character and a dystopian future (plus, only a fool or a rube doesn't get stoked on a good revolution flick these days). But it's the other Lawrence I care about the most — Jennifer Lawrence — is fantastic.

Academy award nominee (at age 20) for 2010's Sundance-winning Winter's Bone, she took home the gold statue for Best Actress two years later for her role in Silver Linings Playbook, just months after teen-lit superhit The Hunger Games shot her into superstardom and the world of big box office success.

Lawrence handles it better than anyone. Every talk show, interview and magazine piece she's in seems to feature a more refreshingly honest, intelligent, open and awesome Jennifer Lawrence than the one prior. She even pulled off tripping on her dress at the Oscars like it was a planned event.

I'm generally not one for gushing celebrity worship, I believe it's terrible for civilization actually1, but Jennifer Lawrence is just so damn refreshing that it feels like she might be part of the solution. Navigating a world that loves to build young stars up just to watch them crash is no easy feat. Throw a heap of considerable acting talent on top of all that charm and you might just have Angelina 2.0 (only way more approachable).

And I'm not the only one to think so. Last year Lawrence replaced Angelina for filming of Serena, a depression-era romance/drama co-starring Bradley Cooper that is kind of in post-production limbo but should be hitting screens early next year.

Before that though, Lawrence and Cooper (who killed it in Silver Linings Playbook) have what looks like one of the biggest flicks of the year dropping in December.

American Hustle is director David O. Russell's latest flick about a brilliant con artist forced to work with the FBI and the result is a high-stakes house of cards that could crash down at any moment. And to make things awesomer, it's all set in the 1970s, which means gold-rimmed aviators, perms, plunging necklines and hard-boiled dialogue. Lawrence stars alongside huge stars like Cooper, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner and more than holds her own. This one will be the movie of the holidays and it drops on or around Dec. 18.

Celebrity culture is out of hand these days and between watching train wrecks like Lindsay Lohan and Rob Ford smash into entitled snots like Justin Beiber and Kanye West it's nice to see a healthy, talented young actress like Jennifer Lawrence succeed and more importantly, appear to be having fun. Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, (like Hunter S Thompson) and taking the world by storm, Jennifer Lawrence is not just Catching Fire, she's burning holes in the entire game.


1. Except Angelina. As a UN Refugee ambassador she is obviously fantastic for civilization.


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