'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. …

Cool Movies to Watch During the Heat of Summer

Movies to Cool Off to

"Cool Runnings" is a cool movie to watch when it's warm.
Doug E. Doug in Disney's 1993 "Cool Runnings." (Disney)
A really good movie will draw you in and make you feel like you are there a part of the action. Sometimes a film can give you a chill and for those upcoming hot days of summer, that can be a welcome relief. Consider viewing some these gems with the fan on high:

Better Off Dead (1985)
Chill Factor: 30%
Starring John Cusack, David Odgen Stiers and Kim Darby, this zany comedy is about a depressed teenager who has just lost the girl of his dreams to the captain of the ski team. His only way of winning her back is the beat the brute at his own game. The cult classic is fun, fairly family-friendly, (for older teens) and is surrounded by snow for about a third of the movie.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)
Chill Factor: 70%
Put on your winter coat and join the Pevensie children as they enter a whole new world through the backend of a wardrobe of all things including Mr. Tumnus (James McAvoy), Father Christmas (James Cosmo) and the evil White Witch (Tilda Swinton). The Christian allegory tale based on the C.S. Lewis book of the same name takes place in the middle of a lot of snow and ice.

Cool Runnings (1993)
Chill Factor:
About half of this film takes place in Jamaica and the other in Calgary during the Winter Olympic Games. It is one of the best Olympics-themed movies that is based on a true story, although it is fluffed up a bit. John Candy is great as the unrealistic coach of Jamaican team of athletes who have never seen snow before. The film also stars Leon and Doug E. Doug.

Deep Impact (1998)
Chill Factor: 60%

A truly depressing tale involving a comet falling down to earth stars a truly impressive cast including Robert Duvall, Tea Leoni, Elijah Wood, Vanessa Redgrave, Morgan Freeman, James Cromwell, Jon Favreau, Mary McCormack, Richard Schiff and Blair Underwood. It’s an end-of-the-world type of film but with some neat freezing effects to help you cool down. Just don’t expect a feel good ending.


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