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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. …

The Rise and Fall of the 4th of July Box Office

2014's 4th of July weekend movies compared to other years.
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" is a
4th of July box office success story. (Universal)
It is a firmly held belief that Steven Spielberg’s Jaws was the beginning of the summer movie blockbuster trend. Before 1975, movies were not considered a big draw during the summer months. That all changed on June 20TH of that year when Jaws was released. Over the years, the benchmark to reach for big ticket sales was over the 4TH of July weekend. For a while, it even appeared that in order to have a successful blockbuster opening on the 4th, you would need Will Smith to have a starring role. He has appeared in five of the biggest summer hits.

Reports from all over are suggesting that this last weekend’s sales were down 40% from last year. Some are blaming the lower numbers on the weather, however, beautiful weather has not kept moviegoers from seeing such hits as Independence Day  or Spider-Man in years past. Even some of Hollywood’s worst bombs did fairly well on 4th of July weekend.

This year, the “winner” was the 4th installment of the Transformers series and its second week in for “Age of Extinction ($55 million) followed by “Tammy” ($32 million), 22 Jump Street and Deliver Us from Evil (both about $14 million). Those numbers don’t sound that bad until you compare them to the top 12 of previous years:


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