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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. …

‘Black or White’ is More Grey – but in a Good Way

Eloise (Jillian Estell) and Elliott (Kevin Costner) in Black or White.
(Relativity)
Kevin Costner is a busy actor these days playing everything from a superhero’s father (Man of Steel) to a dying CIA agent (3 Days to Kill). Next month he’ll play a high school cross country coach in McFarland, USA, but this weekend he shines as the imperfect Elliott Anderson in Black or White. It’s a different type of role for him. He’s a lawyer, he’s old and he’s salty.

As the movie opens, we are with Elliott at the hospital when he receives news that his wife who was in a car accident didn’t survive. Understandably he falls apart. Not so understandably, he turns to the bottle for help. Back home, Elliott is tasked in telling his granddaughter, Eloise (Jillian Estell) the sad news. Eloise’s mother, (Elliott’s daughter), died in childbirth and Eloise barely knows her father. Eloise’s mother was white; her father is black.

To make matters more difficult, Eloise’s grandmother on her father’s side, Rowena (Octavia Spencer), wants nothing more than for her son, Duvan (Mpho Koaho) to be reunited with Eloise. That’s not going to happen if Elliott get’s his way. Let the courtroom drama begin.

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