Monday night at the movies, the post TCM Fest edition.

I’m recovering from the fest and doing other stuff as well, so I’m going to try and keep things fairly short tonight.

* The non-extra initial Blu-Ray/DVD release of “Avatar” has, guess what, done very, very well.

* Thanks, Hef! He saves the world for heavily retouched naked women, pays writers more than just about anybody, and now he ponies up the missing funds to save the Hollywood sign.

* One item I don’t actually have to link to report on is that the TCM Classic Film Festival is going to be back next year, with the idea of being an annual event. I can do that because I was present at last night’s big screening of “Metropolis” where none other than Robert Osborne announced it to the assembled multitudes at the more beautiful than ever Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

What was interesting about the way this festival was marketed is that people who live in Los Angeles were clearly not the primary target. Individual ticket prices were roughly double what film geeks like myself are used to paying to see similar presentations — actually more than double when you consider that most repertory programs are actually double bills. With the exception of fellow press and a USC film student who had picked up one of thirty free tickets that has been donated, everyone I spoke to was from elsewhere, and usually a place where the opportunity to see such frequently revived cinematic warhorses as “Casablanca” and “Some Like it Hot” on the big screen are nevertheless beyond rare.

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The crowds were older, far less exclusively male and as far as I could tell a lot happier than the usual folks who one finds at revival screenings though absolutely no less enthusiastic or devoted than us usual film geeks. They were, in fact, kind of great.

Another observation worth making is the rock-star like status of TCM host Robert Osborne at the festival. Jen Yamato puts it perhaps even more accurately. I saw this myself.

…As I left the closing night party on Sunday I happened upon Mr. Osborne holding court in the middle of the dance floor, intently chatting up a fan. Behind that fan stood a massive line of more fans, all Osbornites waiting patiently for their chance to meet the man. As one made his exit, the next stepped up and took Osborne’s outreached hand and I had a sudden vision of Robert Osborne as the Pope of Movies…

* It’s an unfortunate juxtaposition with the word “pope,”  but I think it’s safe to say that having your DP arrested for child sexual assault is about the worst thing you can think of for morale on a movie like “Moneyball.”

* If you want to make a movie about a real life convicted criminal, it might be better never to approach them about it. At least that’s what Danny DeVito might tell you now regarding trying to make his “Crazy Eddie” movie.

* I’m embargoed, I guess, from saying anything review-y about it, but I have seen “Iron Man 2.” Regardless of what I think, “Iron Man 3” looks to be a few years off yet. And, hey, it’s just possible that Jon Favreau’s “Cowboys and Aliens” will be a better film than either “Iron Man” made so far. (I know, heresy!)

* I’ll be talking to documentary king Alex Gibney tomorrow for an upcoming feature here. The guy is definitely keeping busy. He’s following up his current upcoming film about the Jack Abramoff scandal, “Casino Jack,” with a new film about sex scandal plagued ex-New York governor Eliot Spitzer that seems to be getting quite a reaction.

* I’m supposed to be the indie-friendly cinephile guy around here, but I don’t “get” everything. For example, the love which Sylvain Chomet’s “The Triplets of Belleville” received a few years somewhat baffled me a few years ago — so much so that I didn’t feel I could review. It was clearly not a bad movie, but why wasn’t I, you know, enjoying it? The appeal of the films of hugely acclaimed French comedian/auteur Jacques Tati have baffled me as well in a similar way, at least so far. (I’ve been known to change my mind and I always try to keep an open one.) Still, it’s looking like I might be doubly baffled by the animated art-house release, “The Illusionist.”

  

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