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Good Morning Toronto, September 10: Herzog’s on Top

Werner Herzog tops the must-see list, and Ben Affleck makes do with some faint praise

In this morning’s roundup of TIFF news ‘n’ notes from around the web, Werner Herzog tops the must-see list, and Ben Affleck makes do with some faint praise.

We’re getting to this first one a bit late, but it’s worth bringing back: the Toronto Star’s Peter Howell does an annual survey of TIFF-goers, asking them to list three movies they’re looking forward to seeing. Werner Herzog tops the list by getting five mentions from the 22 panelists for his 3D documentary “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”; Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” lands in the second spot with four, followed by a three-way tie between Bruce McDonald’s “Trigger,” Julian Schnabel’s “Miral” and Charles Ferguson’s “Inside Job.” (The Toronto Star)

indieWIRE kicks off its coverage with “Toronto Day 1: Minute by Minute.” Things were moving slowly on opening day, but the feature has news about a couple of deals, plus notes on “I’m Still Here” and “Trigger.” In fact, the site has 20-plus Toronto reviews up already. How did they see so many movies in one day? They didn’t; these are reviews of TIFF movies that have already played other festivals. (indieWIRE)

Anne Thompson looks at the fuss surrounding “I’m Still Here,” which screened for the industry in Toronto on Thursday and will have its public premiere on Friday night. Some people are amused, some are annoyed, some are seriously offended, and nobody really knows what the hell to make of it. (Thompson on Hollywood

Ben AffleckJeff Wells takes a look at Ben Affleck’s “The Town” and says it didn’t make him miserable. This high praise is followed by a string of caveats, which lead to what I’d say is actually a pretty on-the-nose conclusion: “It ain't art but it's high-end functionalism. It's basically a whaddaya whaddaya okay fine whatever.”  Oh, and Wells fans will be happy to know that he also complains about the price of a Toronto subway pass. (Hollywood Elsewhere)

Susan Wloszczyna offers a geography lesson: Toronto screenings used to be concentrated in the Yorkville district, but now they’re divided between Yorkville and the Entertainment District, where TIFF’s new headquarters is located. It’s a long walk, she says – or, more likely, “local cabbies will be the richer for it.” Either that, or festivalgoers will figure out that it’s a very quick and easy subway ride, even if the price is a little steeper than some would like.  (USA Today)

David Poland has a new TIFF approach: he sees a movie at Toronto and then records a review on his way out of the theater, apparently with a camera attached to his person. (And I thought you couldn’t take recording devices with you into TIFF screenings.) First up is “Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen,” which he calls “the ultimate burrito of a movie.” As in, it’s got a little bit of everything. Then he moves on to “Biutiful,” in which he loves Javier Bardem and admires director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, but has reservations about the film itself: “I wish he would find something happy to make a movie about.” (The Hot Blog)

Poland’s MCN colleague Kim Voynar is chronicling the fest as well, and her first dispatch tells us that she did pretty much the same thing that Poland did on Thursday. She saw “Legend of the First” and enjoyed it, she saw “Biutiful” and loved it but it left her depressed. One imagines she’ll go her own way soon enough. (Film Essent)

The official festival website, meanwhile, has some features that even those not in Toronto might want to use. The “Yesterday at the Festival” page is a cornucopia of interviews with TIFF programmers and trailers from the festival’s films. If you want to hear Thom Powers single out a music documentary (but not the one with Bruce Springsteen), or see the trailer to the opening-night film “Score: A Hockey Musical”  (since, let’s face it, it’s probably not going to get much distribution south of the border), this is where you want to go. (TIFF.net)

Also on the official site, TIFF co-chairman Cameron Bailey makes a daily video in which he picks a few favorites for the upcoming day. For Friday, it’s Emilio Estevez’s “The Way,” the Eastern European drama “Cirkus Columbia,” the “hot” Australian youth film “Wasted on the Young,” “40” from Turkey and “Viva Riva!,” the only Congolese TIFF movie. There’s no question he’s passionate about all of them, but I do wonder if he doesn’t make sure his daily picks single out movies that still need to sell tickets. (TIFF.net)

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