We hate it when our friends become successful, or so the saying goes, but try telling that to Tate Taylor, the self-described “nobody” whose adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling 2009 novel The Help arrived in theaters Wednesday.
Who is Taylor? Don’t worry, you’re hardly alone in asking. The 41-year-old actor, screenwriter and director, for whom The Help is his first studio production, grew up with Stockett in Jackson, Miss. Like Skeeter, one of the heroines of the fledgling author’s story about African-American maids and their complicated relationships with white families in early-’60s Mississippi, both were looked after as children by black housekeepers.
The 34th Toronto International Film Festival, billed by organizers as "the most important festival after Cannes," concluded Sunday, Sept. 19, with the announcement of this year's Audience Award winner: The King's Speech, Tom Hooper's account of Bertie (A Single Man's Colin Firth), the man who overcame a humiliating stutter to become King George VI. (Bay Area moviegoers will get a sneak peek of Speech when it opens the 33rd Mill Valley Film Festival on Thursday, Oct. 7, at the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center.) Here's an account of the 10-day Toronto festival's highlights, lowlights and (almost) everything in between.
There is no social satire to be gleaned from the stylishly staged skull crunching in Ruben Fleischer’s post-apocalyptic comedy Zombieland – and not much in the way of serious horror. The first-time feature director (formerly of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!) aims more for laughs than for the unrelenting dread of George A. Romero’s Living Dead movies, and he succeeds almost effortlessly: At 81 minutes, his debut is cheerfully macabre, briskly paced, brimming with demented energy, and otherwise totally disposable.