'Puzzle' is Well Made, but a Few Pieces are Missing

Based on the film Rompecabezas, Puzzle is one of those little-known independent films that sneaks into theaters with little to no fanfare, although the fact that it is being promoted “from the producer of Little Miss Sunshine” should help it get noticed somewhat. Puzzle is a quiet, little film about a woman who discovers that jigsaw puzzles are the key to changing her life. While the subject matter doesn’t sound all that exciting, the film really isn’t about puzzles but instead about one finding their voice, or so it appears. It’s also a message film that has its own agenda expecting the audience to agree with the choices of the main character and applaud her “brave” behavior. Frankly, it just feels manipulative.

Directed by Marc Turtletaub, Puzzle’s most impactful scene comes within the first few minutes. We see Agnes (Kelly MacDonald) cleaning up the house and they decorating it for a birthday party. Then we see her serving appetizers while being ignored by the guests. …

'Pirates' is Worth the Plunder

Captain Pirate and his band of misfits.
Copyright: Aardman Animations.

If only those in Washington D.C. could tap into the PR teams for pirates, what a different world this would be. History tells us that pirates were thieves and rapists, but the successful PR campaign, started over 50 years ago, and has re-shaped how we feel about pirates. Walt Disney started the trend with his popular ride at Disneyland, “The Pirates of the Caribbean.” Sure, those scallywags run around setting fires and causing havoc, something that would normally terrify us, yet these guys feel all warm and cuddly. Disney later reintroduced us to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie franchise and has made Captain Jack Sparrow a hero of sorts. Even Veggie Tales has “pirates that don’t do anything” characters. The latest pirate PR stunt came to theatre just last week: “The Pirates! Band of Misfits.”

“Pirates” is the latest venture from Aardman Animations, the people behind the popular “Wallace and Gromit” shorts and “Chicken Run.” “Pirates” is told completely through stop-motion animation which took almost two years to shoot. Just like the commentary above, this movie isn’t to be taken too seriously. No heavy message or lesson, just one silly romp. The movie was made to purely entertain. The music is bouncy. The humor is dry.

“Pirates” is a tale about the Captain Pirate (yes, that’s his name) and his quest to become “Pirate of the Year.” Captain’s enthusiasm for the award is greater than his abilities and his crew of “misfits” doesn’t look too promising either:
  • The Pirate with a Scarf
  • The Albino Pirate
  • The Pirate with Gout
  • The Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate
  • The Pirate Who Likes Sunsets and Kittens

Captain (Voiced by Hugh Grant) and his crew are joined by Charles Darwin of all people who explains to Captain that his parrot, Polly, is no parrot at all, but rather the last of the dodos and could be the answer to the untold riches they are searching for. In addition, the crew has to face Queen Victoria, voiced by Imelda Staunton, the woman who portrayed Dolores Umbridge in the “Harry Potter” movies. Queen Victoria makes it very clear that she hates pirates, but has a fascinating appetite for meals made from exotic animals, which puts Polly in danger.

“Pirates” is a fun family movie with plenty of slapstickiness for the young ones and lots of dry humor for the parents. I noticed that a lot of the subtle jokes went over the heads of kids at the screening I attended. There is very little to be offended with this movie and nothing to worry about influencing your children with. Although, if you go, you may want to hide your vinegar and baking soda when you get home. 


promote my blog