'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. …

'Saving Mr. Banks' Brings on the Charm

P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) rides the horses to placate Walt Disney
(Tom Hanks) in "Saving Mr. Banks." Photo: Walt Disney Productions


The stories behind the story of Mary Poppins, both the book and the movie, are fascinating tales – probably more fascinating than any of us realized until now. Saving Mr. Banks explores two of these stories bouncing back and forth from the early 1900’s when author P.L. Travers was just a little girl living in Australia and 1961 when she made the trip from London to Los Angeles to meet with Mr. Disney and hopefully discourage him from turning her book into a movie.

The movie presents a mystery – how can such a happy and imaginative girl in the first story turn into such a sourpuss in the second? Mrs. Travers’ younger self (Annie Rose Buckley) spent her days building houses out of twigs and leaves while her adoring father (Colin Farrell), would spin wild tales to entertain her. Her mother (Ruth Wilson) was distant, but for good reason. When her husband wasn’t drinking, he gave all his energy to his daughter. It is important to note that all of these scenes are seen from a child's point of view.


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