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Five Reasons We Adore Elizabeth Banks

June 15th, 2012 11:07am EDT

Elizabeth Banks There’s a new family drama heading up the Summer Showcase section of the 2012 LA Film Fest called "People Like Us" (from Touchstone Pictures) and the movie, that's based on a true story, stars the lovely Elizabeth Banks. So to celebrate it felt only fitting to pay tribute to "People Like Us" by conjuring up a column that highlights the attributes of the captivating and underrated lead actress. Funny, sexy, bold and beautiful, the talented Banks brings something special to the table for every role she embodies and it’s in this realm that we’re gonna examine her ample acting wares. So from "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" to "The Next Three Days," here’s a column highlighting the bold that is Banks that I’ve wanted to do for a while (and frankly it’s long overdue!) – welcome to...

FIVE REASONS I ADORE ELIZABETH BANKS!

1. COMEDIC CHOPS

The beautiful Banks literally crashed on to the comedic scene with a movie stealing turn as sexual freak ‘Bookstore’ Beth in Judd Apatow’s "The 40-Year-Old Virgin." Equal parts salacious and scary, Bank’s bathtub accessory loving funtime gal brought up the game of lead man Steve Carell and at the same time came with a wonderful warning – this gorgeous gal was willing to do anything to get a laugh.

2. HONESTY IN PERFORMANCE

While she did bring the funny in Kevin Smith’s "Zack and Miri Make A Porno," there’s a softer side of Banks that begins to emerge as the film progresses. So when the eventual scene of consummation between best friends Zack and Miri happens we feel like we’re almost intruding. So captivating, loving and sincere is her work in ‘the’ scene (and the rest of the flick for that matter!) that it’s like catching a glimpse of someone at their most personal and vulnerable – the truly gifted only make it look easy.

3. WILLINGNESS TO GO DARK

Dramatic chops are nothing new to Banks. Her portrayal of Laura Bush in Oliver Stone’s "W." and the creepy girlfriend in the Tale of Two Sisters remake "The Uninvited" (she was the best thing in that damn film!) showed she was not afraid to do heavier lifting. But it was her work in the "Anything For Her" remake "The Next Three Days" that showed just how far and dark Banks was prepared to go. Mixing equal parts sadness, depression and utter abandonment of the human spirit, Bank’s wife and mom convicted for a crime she didn't commit has such a deep emotional impact that it’s not hard to see why even ladies man Russell Crowe would risk it all to free her – I would.

4. AUTHORITATIVE HOTNESS

Can someone portray a sense of despair, authority and still be as hot as ever? Only if your name is Elizabeth Banks. As the real main draw of the Sam Worthington helmed "Man on a Ledge," Banks confidently conveys a world-weary female detective down for the count that still manages to take charge of the situation. A character with a troubled past, turbulent future with a need to make amends and sporting a serious case of self-loathing – and she looks good doing it all.

5. DIVERSE CHOICES

I love that Banks isn't afraid to rock the acting boat and willing to go out on a limb. From broad comedy (love her southern belle in "Slither!") to going against type (her bitchy sister in "Our Idiot Brother" is a nice departure!) and even grandiose character work (only Banks could have uttered ‘Prim-rose Everdeen’ via "The Hunger Games" with such leathery snake-like pleasure!), Banks pops up in the most curious of places. You never know where she might show up next, but like an eager THX loving crowd, her audience is listening.

"People Like Us," starring Elizabeth Banks, Chris Pine and Michelle Pfeiffer is currently in the Summer Showcase section of this years LA Film Fest – go to www.lafilmfest.com for details. The film, from Touchstone Pictures, hits theaters June 29, 2012.

Related: Elizabeth Banks, Starpulse Exclusives, Film Festivals, LA Film Fest

Photo Credits: Photos Courtesy of LA Film Fest and Film Independent

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