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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 Identical’ is Not as Good as the Original

Review of the movie, "The Identical."
Blake Rayne, Ashley Judd and Ray Liotta stars in the faith-based film
"The Identical" (City of Peace Films)
I used to think that Elvis impersonators didn’t arrive on the scene until late in the King’s career, but apparently they have been around since the mid ‘50s. The first was Carl ‘Cheesie’ Nelson who did his own versions of “That’s All Right, Mama” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and even sang with Elvis in 1954. It’s all documented in the book, “Elvis in Texas” by Stanley Oberst and Lori Torrance. Oh, the things you learn on Wikipedia.

The above story might have made for a better story than The Identical did. That movie has a similar-themed story. In real life, Elvis was born with a twin brother, Jesse who died shortly after childbirth. Or did he?

The Identical is a pretend story of “what if.” All of the names have been changed, but it is basically a story about what would have happened if Elvis’ brother had lived and had been raised by another family.
 This story begins during the Great Depression with the Hemsley’s, a poor couple expecting their first child. However, it is during the birth that the new parents learn that they have two sons, Drexel and Ryan. Convinced that they would not be able to afford to raise both boys, the Hemsleys offer up Ryan, for adoption to a traveling pastor and his wife. They make Rev. Reece Wade (Ray Liotta) and Louise (Ashley Judd) promise that they will not tell Ryan that he was adopted until his natural parents have passed away.


As time goes on, Reece is convinced that his son is destined to further his ministry. Ryan (Blake Rayne) tries to follow his father’s plan, but it becomes clear soon on that he has a gift for music and singing. It doesn’t help that this new rock star comes on the scene, Drexel Hemsley (also Rayne) looking and sounding exactly like himself. Ryan becomes Drexel’s #1 fan and ends up pursuing a career where he imitates the singing legend and becomes known as The Identical.


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