'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. …

ABC Goes Down the Rabbit Hole with Another Hit

"Once Upon a Time in Wonderland"
Premieres October 10 on ABC
Cyrus (Peter Gadiot) and
Alice (Sophie Lowe)
ABC/Jack Rowand


With the success of TV’s Once Upon a Time (OUAT), a spin-off to the series is certainly not a surprise and focusing on the world of Wonderland is a good move for ABC. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is another family-focused show smartly produced by Edward Kitsis & Adam Horrowitz, the guys responsible for the original series and another little show you might have heard of: Lost.

Though a spinoff and similar in tone, Wonderland is its own show with only brief mentions of the original series. Tonight’s premiere begin in Victorian England with a very young Alice, dressed in the tradition sky blue dress and white apron, arriving out of a rabbit hole excited to tell her father about her adventures. He is equally shocked as he is grateful to see the child as she has been gone for a “very long time.” When she tells him about Wonderland, he brings her to a shrink. Years later, and still stubborn that this land actually exists, Alice makes a return to Wonderland to bring back proof. Something goes wrong along the way and she ends up in a mental institution. (Don’t worry, it gets better.)

Red Queen (Emma Rigby)
ABC/Jack Rowand
The show cuts to a brief scene in Storybrooke (featured in OUAT) with a brief cameo of Cinderella (Jessy Schram) and Grumpy (Lee Arenberg ) have just locked up Granny’s CafĂ©. The Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha), enjoying his new life in the new world, breaks in when he is suddenly summoned by the White Rabbit (John Lithgow) to come back to England and help Alice break out.

This new show features many of the famous characters from Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass including the Red Queen (Emma Rigby), the hookah-smoking caterpillar (Iggy Pop) and the ever-grinning Cheshire Cat (Keith David). But like OUAT, it also features characters from other stories including Jafar (Naveen Andrews doing a wonderful job) from Disney’s Aladdin story and a genie named Cyrus (Peter Gadiot), who resembles Aladdin more than the blue genie we are familiar with. Here in this fantastical world, dragonflies breathe fire and the Red Queen’s castle looks like a chessboard. The Mad Hatter is missing and the Queen is after Alice’s head.

Alice (Sophie Lowe) and the
Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha)
Photo: ABC/Jeff Weddell
Like the creator’s other shows, this one seems like it will have spiritual overtones to the story as well, something Christian families can appreciate. In tonight’s episode, men of science try to convince Alice that both Cyrus and Wonderland are not real because they cannot see them. Alice points out that she doesn’t need to see them to know that they are real, much like our faith in God and Jesus Christ. This is mentioned at least twice.

Fans of the original show and the Alice stories will enjoy this show as well. If the aforementioned is not your “cup of tea,” don’t expect to like this story either.


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