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

MOVIE REVIEW
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. …

‘Gravity,’ ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ and ‘12 Years a Slave’ win big at 86th Academy Awards


While it didn’t win the Oscar for Best Picture, Gravity left the Academy Awards with the most wins for the night – seven, including Best Director. Winning so many awards, it was a little shocking that Sandra Bullock did not win for Best Actress.  Co-stars, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto won for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for Dallas Buyer's Club and both gave incredibly heartfelt speeches. McConaughey gave special thanks to God acknowledging the importance of the all mighty in his life, which was a lot better than his odd rambling speech he gave earlier at the Golden Globes for the same honor. Finally, 12 Years a Slave won for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay.

For a production that has been presented over and over again for 86 years now, it was nice to see how this year’s Academy Awards presentation was able to keep things fresh. Not shorter (it just barely ended at 3.5 hours), but fresh. No surprise that this year’s host, Ellen DeGeneres, kept things classy during the opening by gently teasing the stars in attendance rather than put them down. (Though the comment “Hello to the best Liza Minnelli impersonator I’ve ever seen. Good job, sir,” to the real Minnelli was a little tacky.) DeGeneres managed to take selfies and snapshots throughout the evening to post on Twitter. In one particular one, she posed with a bunch of stars and announced that she hoped that it would become one of the most shared photos on the site ever. No word if that endeavor worked, but it did shut down the site for awhile.

At one point in the evening, DeGeneres joked that she was going to order a couple of pizzas to feed the crowd as that is something a good host does. About a half hour later, she brought out on stage a real pizza delivery man with three pizzas and started passing out paper plates and napkins to anyone who wanted a slice.

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