'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. …

Pixar’s Colorful ‘Inside Out’ is Thought-Provoking

 The Emotions: Fear, Sadness, Joy, Disgust and Anger
(L-R) The Emotions: Fear, Sadness, Joy, Disgust and Anger (Disney/Pixar)

Movie Review of 'Inside Out'

When it comes to Pixar films, the question really isn't, “Is it any good” but rather, “How good is it?” Since the beginning with Toy Story, the studio has created such an image for itself that audiences expect greatness with everything that they do, which is saying a lot. In the case with their latest venture into the human mind and the emotions that occupy within it, it is a story unlike any of the studio's other films. Many critics are claiming that Inside Out is the studio's best work ever. 

Disney/Pixar's Inside Out
Mom, Dad and Riley making do in their new home until the furniture arrives.
Inside Out
took a total of five years to make which probably had to do with the fact that they were creating a whole new environment without much to model after. For instance, Toy Story is about a bunch of toys that come alive when their owner, Andy, is not home. For the filmmakers, they knew what the toys, the human characters and their surrounding looked like. Inside Out takes place mostly inside the head of an 11-year-old girl, Riley and most of the characters are imaginary. Who knows what Anger really looks like? For this film, Pixar chose two radical different looks. A more realistic version for Riley “outside her head life” and a more fuzzy, whimsical look that is similar to Disney's Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom of 1953.

Here is the basic plot: Riley and her parents uproot from their home in Minnesota to San Francisco, California. The transition is a difficult one for Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) as she has to deal with a new home, new school and new friends. Her Mom (Diane Lane) and Dad (Kyle MacLachlan), try to help, but they have their own concerns to deal with as well.

As is the tradition, Inside Out comes with a special short film to start off your viewing pleasure. Like the movie it precedes, Lava is beautiful to look at. It is basically volcano love story of all things. The simple story actually has a profound ending that will go over the heads of children in the audience. In short, it is an allegory about holding onto to faith. Whether this was intended or not by the studio, Christians can view the short as an encouragement when one is disappointed with God. His timing is not our timing, but it is always perfect.

Related: Meet the Brains Behind the Emotions of 'Inside Out'

Related: Meet the Emotions of 'Inside Out'


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