'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. …

‘Helix’ is Creepy Good Fun

(L-R) Mark Ghanime, Hiroyuki Sanada, Meegwun Fairbrother, Kyra Zagorsky,
Billy Campbell, Neil Napier, Jordan Hayes, Catherine Lemieux Photo: Syfy


If you’ve ever seen an “Original Syfy Channel Movie” like say Sharknado or 12 Disasters of Christmas, cheesy movies that are so bad that they are good, you might be leery to try out one of their original shows. Truth is, Syfy shows are either hits or misses, you never really know what you’re going to get unless you try them out.

If you like a storyline that is scary, but not too gory, Helix just might fit the bill. Helix is what you get when you mix some of the biggest names in genre television together including Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) and Executive Producers Lynda Obst (Contact) and Steven Maeda (Lost, CSI: Miami, The X-Files). It’s sort of a morality tale told in the extreme. It’s quirky, creepy and mysterious. It’s certainly not for everyone and not a show you would like to gather the family around, but besides some swearing (that’s allowed on cable channels you know) there isn’t much to take offense with as a Christian (so far!). It’s pretty addicting too.
The never-aging Billy Campbell plays Dr. Alan Farragut, leader of the Centers for Control which is located in Atlanta. We only see a glimpse of this facility during the pilot episode before he is whisked away to an Artic research lab to investigate an outbreak. It just so happens that the privately run lab is where his brother Peter (Neil Napier) works and is an apparent victim of the virus. Alan brings with him his ex-wife, Dr. Julia Walker (Kyra Zagorsky), his assistant Dr. Sarah Jordan (Jordan Hayes), the tough Dr. Doreen Boyle (Catherine Lemieux) and Army man Major Sergio Balleseros (Mark Ghanime). Once arriving at the circle-shaped building, they are “greeted” by Dr. Hiroshi Hatake (Hiroyuki Sanada) and the emotionless head of security Daniel Aerov (Meegwun Fairbrother). Here, they learn three things:
  1. Peter’s health is not good.
  2. The virus isn't airborne.
  3. The low temperatures mess with helicopters, so there's no easy way off the base.
The show is sort of like a haunted house with creaks, moans and groans and it becomes evident that not everyone is telling the truth and for different reasons. That’s the start of this twisted tale that gets eerier and stranger as it goes on beginning with the odd theme song, happy-sounding elevator music. To tell you more would ruin the surprises that show has in store. Just know that this team needs to find a solution to their problem or our whole world could be infected!

Helix airs on Fridays at 10:00 on Syfy.


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