'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. …

'Captain America' Continues to Shine as an American Hero

Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson star at Captain America
and the Black Widow in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
 (Photo: Marvel)


As the Marvel movie universe continues to grow as more characters are added more storylines crossover into each other stories, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep everything straight. However, it is a delightful struggle.

Although I wasn’t a fan of Captain America before, I found a new admiration of him in The Avengers. He is everything a superhero should be. He isn’t conflicted. He’s fully aware of his man-made super powers, but he uses them only for good. He’s a true role model. He stands for God and county and in Captain America: The Winter Soldier he is about the only voice of reason, at least at the beginning.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is still adjusting to modern life now living in Washington, D.C. His story about being awakened after being frozen for so long is no longer a secret. He is a feature at a local museum. Still, he lives in a modest apartment and rarely dates because he is too busy. His good looks match his good guy personality. What mother wouldn’t want him as a future son-in-law?
Although a part of S.H.I.E.L.D., Rogers doesn’t full agree with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and the organization’s plans for greater security for America. But before he can officially take a stand on the issue, chaos erupts S.H.I.E.L.D. Soon, everything is not as it seems. Fellow colleagues can no longer be trusted and, as it often happens in superhero movies, the whole world is in danger. Can communism really be on the rise and if so, why? The movie is a mystery/action/adventure that at times forgets that it is a superhero film. Taking his shield wherever he goes, (it’s amazing how many uses he has for it), Rogers is joined by the Black Widow (AKA Natasha Romanoff, AKA Scarlett Johansson), seen in The Avengers, and a new “superfriend”, the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to fight off the bad guys and discover who is behind it all. If that were not enough, there is some trouble with a new villain, the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), an under-developed villain who Rogers seems to recognize.

Robert Redford joins the cast as Alexander Pierce, a big wig with S.H.I.E.L.D. Emily VanCamp also appears in a small role, but looks like she is being set up for a larger role in future movie. Also making a surprise appearance is Gary Shandling of all people.

Winter Soldier is begins quietly enough but soon gains momentum that doesn’t stop until the end. Lots of action, lots of fights, very little blood. And a whole lot of fun.


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