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25 Movies That Defined The Sundance Film Festival

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • January 21, 2014 12:05 PM
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  • 14 Comments
25 Movies That Defined The Sundance Film Festival
As you might have noticed from the wall-to-wall level of coverage over the last week or so, the Sundance Film Festival has grown considerably from its humble beginnings back in 1978, when it was inaugurated as the Utah/US Film Festival and had a remit to showcase exclusively American-made independent films, and to promote filmmaking in the region. Robert Redford's involvement as a guiding patron led to its name change in 1981, from which point on it expanded gradually, until a kind of Cambrian explosion occurred with the arrival of "sex lies & videotape " 25 years ago this, a film that, with only a touch of hyperbole, could be said to have remade the festival into the modern titan it is today.

Review: 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey

  • By Kimber Myers
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  • August 9, 2013 8:59 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The Butler Forest Whitaker Cuba Gooding Jr.
“Lee Daniels’ The Butler” is nothing if not full of sincerity and effort. Which is why it’s so entirely confusing why they cast former teen heartthrob John Cusack as hangdog Richard Nixon. He’s fallen from his “Say Anything” days (and even the highs of “High Fidelity”), but this is maybe the worst casting we’ve seen in a major Hollywood film since Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist. Having Robin Williams play Dwight Eisenhower comes a close second, and Liev Schreiber as Lyndon B. Johnson isn’t much better. The decades-spanning drama tries so hard to create a moving, seemingly accurate look at the titular character’s time spent on the staff at the White House during turbulent times that these missteps stand out particularly strongly, especially when compared to lookalike contest winners James Marsden’s JFK and Alan Rickman’s Ronald Reagan.

'Precious' Filmmaker Lee Daniels To Direct Untitled LGBT Showtime Drama

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 11, 2011 3:49 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Director Lee Daniels continues to spend his post-"Precious" time stacking up projects. He's finally at work on his next full length picture, "The Paperboy" after his MLK project couldn't get off the ground due to financing and a lack of support from the civil rights leader's estate. As it goes for many high profile directors these days, television is proving to be a new and fertile creative ground, and for Daniels that's no less true.

Lee Daniels Will Visit 'Valley Of The Dolls' For NBC

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 27, 2011 4:24 AM
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  • 0 Comments
In case you didn't get the memo, period programming is the new black. Thanks to the runaway success of "Mad Men," ailing network channels who have been losing viewers to better programming on their cable rivals have been falling over themselves to try and replicate the popularity of AMC's show. This past weekend, ABC bowed the very expensive looking, though somewhat middling "Pan Am," while NBC is already two episodes deep in their poorly received "The Playboy Club." Perhaps sensing they might need to get another show moving if 'Playboy' doesn't pick up, the network is looking to one of the most popular melodramas of all time to try and find a winner, and have now found a helmer who knows his way around a genre to help out.

John Cusack To Replace Tobey Maguire In Lee Daniels' 'The Paperboy'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 12, 2011 12:58 PM
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  • 1 Comment
It's not too long since we last lamented the state of John Cusack's career: long one of our favorite actors, the decade or so since "High Fidelity" has seen at best, enjoyable-but-flawed movies like "Runaway Jury," "The Ice Harvest" or "1408," through to films that were barely released, like "Grace Is Gone" and "The Contract," to, at worst, pictures that were never released, like "Shanghai" and serial killer thriller "The Factory," both shot in 2008, and still sitting on the shelf. But signs are good for a comeback: he's playing Edgar Allan Poe in next year's period thriller "The Raven," he's written another dark comedy the Latin American satire "Dictablanda," and now, he's signing on to a big production with a hefty pedigree.

Matthew McConaughey, Tobey Maguire & Zac Efron Starring In Lee Daniels' 'The Paperboy'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 13, 2011 6:18 AM
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  • 0 Comments
'Modern Family' Star Sofia Vergara Confirmed For CastLee Daniels hasn't quite had Hollywood bowing before him in the same way that some directors do after picking up an Oscar nomination -- in his case, for "Precious." It's not that the director hasn't gotten involved in projects -- he's attached to no fewer than five, and two, the civil rights drama "Selma," and the White House-set tale "The Butler," were close to happening, with A-listers like Hugh Jackman and Denzel Washington attached. But the films never quite got going, for one reason or another, and Daniels is yet to make his follow-up to the film that made his name.

Allegations Of Infidelity In Paul Greengrass' 'Memphis' Script Troubled Martin Luther King Estate

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 5, 2011 5:52 AM
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  • 10 Comments
Lee Daniels' 'Selma' Also Ran Afoul Of MLK FamilyWe wished it was some kind of cruel April Fool's Day joke, but last Friday it was revealed that Universal was bailing on "Memphis," the Martin Luther King Jr. pic that was written and set to be directed by Paul Greengrass. The project was a big one. It was being prepped to start shooting in June with a release date already targeted for MLK weekend in February 2012. Universal pulled funding and claimed tight scheduling as an issue, however Deadline revealed that the estate of the late civil rights leader was "highly critical" of the film and threatened to openly and publicly condemn the project if it ever went in front of cameras. And now, more details have come to the fore.

Is 'Precious' Filmmaker Lee Daniels Directing Sofia Vergara & Bradley Cooper In 'The Paperboy'?

  • By Edward Davis
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  • February 20, 2011 6:01 AM
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  • 8 Comments
Alex Pettyfer Also Reportedly Offered RoleIf director Lee Daniels can't choose a directorial follow-up to his Sundance indie hit, "Precious," it's not for lack of trying. The filmmaker has myriad options including the Civil Right-era drama "Selma" (which might be shelved because no studio cares about civil rights films anymore) and "The Butler" starring Denzel Washington as Eugene Allen an African-American butler that served the White House for 34 years and 8 presidents. The problem is none of those films are in eye-popping 3D, feature super heroes in tight pants and/or aren't part nine of some kid magician series, so no one's really interested in funding them. Three other gestating projects, a musical ("The Scottsboro Boys"), a remake of Fellini’s "Nights of Cabiria," and a literary adaptation that takes place during the 1920s cigar industry ("Anna In the Tropics"), all have as much chance of being made as "Calculus Math Textbook: The Movie."

Lee Daniels Can't Make Up His Mind, Signs On To Develop & Direct 'Anna In The Tropics'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 14, 2010 3:43 AM
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  • 2 Comments
So what happens when your sophomore feature film gets nominated for six Academy Awards and walks away with two statues? If you're Lee Daniels, you give yourself a lot of options before choosing your next post-Oscar project. With "Selma," "The Butler," "The Scottsboro Boys" and an ill-advised remake of Frederico Fellini's "Nights Of Cabiria" all kicking around on the helmer's slate, he's gone ahead and added yet another potential project.

Ugh: 'Precious' Director Lee Daniels To Remake Fellini's 'Nights of Cabiria'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • December 7, 2010 1:54 AM
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  • 14 Comments
It's no secret that we weren't big fans of Lee Daniels' "Hard To Watch: Based On The Book 'Stone Cold Bummer' By Manipulate" "Precious: Based On The Book 'Push' By Sapphire" here. The film was admittedly chock-full of excellent performances, particularly the Oscar-winning Mo'nique and lead Gabourey Sidibe, but the movie was irredeemably manipulative, and showed, in Daniel's work, perhaps the directorial effort least deserving of an Oscar nomination in history -- unfocused, garish and showy.

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