'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. …

The Best New Gospel of 2013


It’s a good time to be a fan of urban and modern gospel. Tye Tribbett’s Greater Than made a big splash this summer, building on his initial solo success. The album is modern gospel with hip-hop, R&B and pop influences woven throughout. This was followed up by American Idol alum Mandisa’s latest, Overcomer. This disc is all about encouragement and empowerment, but she also clearly lets you know her power comes from above.

Also getting some attention in 2013 is Tasha Cobbs. Her Grace album is a live release that showcases the talent of the pastor’s daughter and longtime worship leader. Gospel great Hezekiah Walker released Azusa the Next Generation with help from some well-known friends (guests include Deitrick Haddon, Donnie McClurkin and John P. Kee). Fred Hammond also joined forces with other vocal powerhouses for the album United Tenors. Then there’s gospel’s grand dame, Shirley Caesar. Her Good God reinforces her status as the leader of the pack.


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