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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Intriguing Film Lineup at Vail Festival
by Betty Jo Tucker

While looking over the program for the 2007 Vail Film Festival, I couldn’t help being impressed by the diversity of the 63 movies scheduled to be screened from March 29-April 1. This year’s Festival will mark either the World or North American premiere of several films.  

The Festival gets underway on Thursday, March 29, with Snow Cake, starring Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver. It’s a drama about the friendship between an autistic woman and a man traumatized after a car accident. On Saturday, March 31, Red Road will be the closing film. This movie, which focuses on a CCTV operator played by Kate Dickie, won the Cannes Jury Prize, five BAFTA Scotland Awards, and two British Independent Film Awards.

Other intriguing feature film highlights include: Knocked Up starring Katherine Heigl (Izzy in TV’s Grey’s Anatomy); Daydreamer starring Aaron Paul, Arielle Kebbel, Chris McKenna and Caroline D’Amore; Marc Benardout’s Sinner, a movie designed to challenge viewers’ thinking about right and wrong and whether anyone or anything is unredeemable; and Two Tickets to Broadway, actor D. B. Sweeney’s directorial debut.

During a telephone interview, Sweeney mentioned his film’s wonderful sound track with songs he bought the rights to “at a brother-in-law” price. “I also want people to know this movie is the first time Moira Kelly, my co-star in The Cutting Edge, and I have been re-untied on screen,” he declared. Sweeney claims he became involved in Two Tickets to Paradise in order to create a part proving he could do “funny.” He gives props to the other actors, including John G. McGinley (from TV’s Scrubs) and Paul Hipp, for helping him direct himself.  Six additional feature films round out this important category.

Among the many documentaries to be screened, Do It for Johnny piques my interest the most. Why? Because it depicts the efforts of an independent filmmaker to present his script plus a specially made guitar to my favorite actor, Johnny Depp. But Free Leisl runs a close second, for it’s a Wayne Ewing (Breakfast with Hunter) movie -- and he’s a documentary filmmaker I greatly admire.       

Eight student films will also be shown. As the world’s most avid fan of movie musicals, I’m especially psyched up about Death Sandwich, a film noir musical comedy, which started out as a student thesis at Syracuse University. “We got an A,” said Michelle Weintraub who edited the film. “It’s definitely different -- photographed in black and white like the old film noir movies,” she added. “It’s such a serious type of film, but we turned it into a musical comedy. Some people who’ve seen it compare it to the Leslie Neilsen Naked Gun films.”   

Happily, like most film festivals, the Vail program includes a group of short films, thus giving many viewers the chance to see some excellent movies that usually don’t make it into multiplex theaters.   

Additional Festival highlights include an opening night gala at the Cascade Resort & Spa’s Centennial Ballroom, a filmmaker’s reception at Larkspur at the base of Golden Peak, the Festival Awards Ceremony featuring Harold Ramis, Sophia Bush and Hayden Panettiere, as well as a party at Vail’s Eagle Nest Marketplace and a closing brunch at Larkspur.

The Best Life Lodge, which will serve as the event’s central location, will be open to festival pass holders, and presenting sponsor Best Life magazine has aligned with some of Vail’s finest restaurants to feature yummy signature dishes there.      

For more details about the 2007 Vail Film Festival program, please visit or call (866) 476-1092.

(Photo: Sigourney Weaver in Snow Cake. © 2007 IFC. All Rights Reserved.)

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