Toronto International Film Festival: "If you kiss me, I'll pop you in the fuckin' balls."

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Believe the hype: Borat rules. It has a release date of November 3. I suggest you mark it on your calendar ... you will not be sorry. (Unless highly offensive, off-color humor -- and the sight of two hairy, naked men vigorously wrestling their way across a banquet hall filled with mortgage brokers -- ain't your cup of tea. Then you can skip it. Everyone else will bust a gut without you.)

What day are we on again? Day four? Criminy. This is another quick entry, because I only have a few minutes to spare. This morning, checked out Christopher Guest's latest, For Your Consideration. It satirizes Hollywood, particularly the strange phenomenon known as Oscar hype, with some hilariously authentic jabs at talk shows. My favorite character was probably John Michael Higgins' clueless publicist ("The internet ... that's the one with the e-mail, right?") There are many funny moments, particularly among the throwaway asides and any time Fred Willard appears sporting a faux-hawk. (The "industry" crowd I watched it with roared throughout.) Alas, overall, I don't think it's Guest's strongest effort, perhaps due to my Waiting for Guffman bias. Consideration is still funnier than most comedies out there, to be sure (although not, it goes without saying, the soon-to-be-classic Borat).

Later in the day, I overheard someone reducing Werner Herzog to the most chilling of short-term-showbiz-memory descriptors -- "oh, he's the one that did Grizzly Man!" But the screening of his Rescue Dawn was jam-packed by the time I managed to add myself to the line. (Silly me, I dared use the restroom during my first free moment since 8am. It's slacker behavior like that that'll monkey-wrench your TIFF experience.) Turned away, I headed instead to American History X director Tony Kaye's Lake of Fire, a stark, thought-provoking, highly emotional look at the history and future of America's abortion debate. Filmed in black and white, the doc spans nearly two decades and runs close to three hours long; it has a lot to say about the religious right (especially the extremists who bomb clinics and shoot doctors) and takes a close look at the delicate question of when life actually begins. At times, Lake of Fire is quite difficult to watch, but even during its most graphic moments, I found it equally difficult to look away.

Tomorrow looks to be routinely intense, if all goes as planned. I'm especially excited to see the great Albert Maysles introduce The Beales of Grey Gardens, featuring outtakes from one of my fave documentaries (hell, fave films, period) of all time.

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