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Daily TIFF Riff: Clooney bristles at questions about his dating life

09/10/2011 09:49 EDT | Updated 11/10/2011 05:12 EST

Oh, the predictability of it all. At the press conference for The Ides of March last night, actor-director-silver fox George Clooney was asked a question that didn’t directly pertain to his new political thriller. More specifically, the intrepid interlocutor asked Cloons what was more difficult: directing or trying to keep your dating life dignified while living in the public eye.

Not a particularly intellectual line of inquiry, but not a terribly unusual one, either, given the circumstances. Clooney, however, refused to oblige the reporter. Instead, he asked for his name, and harangued him for asking such a “hard-hitting” question.

Clooney seems cagey about his latest flame, which appears to be model and former WWE wrestler Stacy Keibler. Clooney and Keibler were seen together at the Ritz-Carlton last night, as evidenced by these grainy iPhone pics taken by our colleagues at CBC Live.

If Clooney’s love life occupies your thoughts, this tidbit will be catnip for you. If not, please read on.

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Three days into the fest, and we come to arguably the biggest day for Canadian premieres.

The most prestigious is for A Dangerous Method¸ the latest brainteaser from David Cronenberg. Based on a play called The Talking Cure and John Kerr’s non-fiction book A Most Dangerous Method¸ the film stars current Cronenberg muse Viggo Mortensen as famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and Michael Fassbender (Hunger) as his protégé, Carl Jung, who fell into a tangled relationship with an attractive but mentally troubled woman named Sabina Spielrein (played with ferocity by Keira Knightley). It will be interesting to see what Cronenberg does with this material — it’s so rare that he attempts period pieces.

Side note: there were rumbles of disappointment among the CBC arts unit at the news that the roguishly charming Fassbender would not be participating in today’s press conference for A Dangerous Method. Boo.

Also getting the gala treatment today is Take This Waltz, the second directorial outing for Sarah Polley, whose previous project behind the lens was the Oscar-nominated Away From Her. Take This Waltz concerns Margot (Michelle Williams) and Lou (Seth Rogen), a young couple whose marital bond is tested when Margot develops an interest in a dishy neighbour named Daniel (Luke Kirby). Although the film is filled with levity, it is an affecting portrait of the strains of monogamy.

Hockey has been much in the news this year, for many of the wrong reasons (concussions, deaths, riots), which will inevitably lend some gravitas to the hockey-themed films at TIFF this year. Premiering today is Breakaway, a multi-culti comedy about a group of Toronto Sikhs who form their own hockey team. They’re ultimately dreadful, until they capture the imagination of an ambitious coach (Rob Lowe), whose toothsome daughter (Camilla Belle) captures the imagination of young rink rat Rajveer Singh. The irascible, inescapable Russell Peters co-stars as a friend of Rajveer’s family, dispensing brown people jokes with abandon.

The other major hockey flick is Goon, the latest from master Canadian satirist Michael Dowse (Fubar, It’s All Gone Pete Tong). Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) is a ruffian who gets recruited by a minor-league team to become their designated enforcer — an amusing turn of events, since Doug can barely skate. Dowse and co-writer Jay Baruchel have great fun turning this premise into the stuff of over-the-top farce.

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