'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. …

‘The Guest’- And You Thought Your Relatives were Bad

Review of the movie, "The Guest."
Dan Stevens plays the disturbing house guest in "The Guest."
After a few minutes of watching The Guest, you’ll swear you’ve seen it before, and there is a reason for that. Director Adam Wingard and screenwriter Simon Barrett, the duo behind You’re Next, were inspired by bad horror/thriller movies of the ‘80s and ‘90s and recreated them here right down to the annoying synthesizer soundtrack.

The film wastes no time at setting up the story. The Peterson family is grieving the death of their son, Caleb who died while in the service. Spencer (Leland Orser) and Laura (Sheila Kelley), Caleb’s parents, fight a lot more often, sister Anna (Maika Monroe) lies about her whereabouts and brother Luke (Brenden Meyer) is tormented by bullies at school. Within two minutes of screen time, Laura is visited by David (Dan Stevens) who served with Caleb. He is on a mission to visit the family and deliver the message that Caleb loved them all very much. Impressed with his manners, sensitivity and stories of serving with Caleb, Laura invites him in and offers to let him stay the night. The other family members are not as accepting of him at first, but David oozes with Southern charm and soon they all forget that they have just let a total stranger into their home.

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