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Eclecticism rules Toronto International Film Fest selection

September 9, 2009 | 12:30 pm

Badlieutenant-cage1

Please direct your attention to reporter Mark Olsen's concise roundup of the films featured in this year's Toronto International Film Festival, which can be found in both the Calendar section of today's L.A. Times and on the Calendar page of latimes.com.

As noted in the article, the operative word for the 34th edition of the festival is "eclectic" -- how else to describe Thursday night's festival-opening double feature of "Creation," with Paul Bettany as Charles Darwin and Jennifer Connelly as his religious wife, and the gore-soaked "Jennifer's Body," with Megan Fox as a demon-possessed high schooler and a script by Oscar winner Diablo Cody? Something for everyone, I suppose.

Also contributing to the festival's sense of underground programming: Drew Barrymore's roller derby drama "Whip It!"; "Juno" director Jason Reitman's drama "Up in the Air," with George Clooney as a business exec on a downsizing mission; the buzz-heavy Cormac McCarthy adaptation "The Road," with Viggo Mortensen on a post-apocalyptic survival mission; and Steven Soderbergh's quirky "The Informant!" with Matt Damon as an over-eager corporate whistleblower. 

The filmmaker who best sums up the festival's approach is, appropriately enough, Werner Herzog, who has made a career out of taking the least likely of roads in his work. The art house veteran, who has experienced something of a career high in regard to output over the last few years with "Grizzly Man," "Rescue Dawn" and "Encounters at the End of the World," has two pics in this year's lineup -- the left-field sequel "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" (pictured), which earned him the ire of director Abel Ferrrara, who helmed the original, and the true crime story "My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done" -- both in sharp contrast to the documentaries and intensely metaphysical features that made his name in the '70s and '80s like "Fitzcarraldo" and "Even Dwarves Started Small." The question that bears asking is: Has Werner Herzog adopted the model of world cinema, or vice versa?

Read here to find out, if you will.

-- Paul Gaita

Photo: Nicolas Cage, starring in "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans"; Credit: First Look Pictures

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