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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 Good Dinosaur’ is an Emotional Rollercoaster for Dino Lovers

Review of "The Good Dinosaur"
"Spot" and Arlo (Disney/Pixar)
Unlike my family, I was moved but not crushed while watching UP. I was touched with Brave and I got a little lump in my throat while watching Inside Out. But The Good Dinosaur? That flick messed me up.
 

The Good Dinosaur is really one of the more unique Disney/Pixar films. It’s a western that features dinosaurs with creatures that eat other creatures and there isn’t a single frilly princess. It deals with themes that include the importance of family, facing your fears, and making your mark in this world. That doesn’t sound like the making of an emotional film, but then again, neither did story about a house elevated by balloons.
 

Some families will take issue that the story begins with Darwin-like principles. For those that do, try to take solace in the fact that it is just a story without any agenda attached. Instead, it illustrates real-life scenarios in a make-believe world. 

The premise is that the supposed asteroid that wiped out all of the dinosaurs on the planet, missed the earth entirely. Dinosaurs supposedly grew to build homes, till soil and grow plants all on their own. Arlo is the youngest of three children to grow up on the farm with Momma and Poppa who encourage their children to do something great to make their mark in the world. Although all three kids work hard, brother Buck and sister Libby make their marks fairly early on by mastering their daily chores. Arlo’s job is to feed the chicken-like creatures whom he is terribly afraid of. Poppa wants nothing more than to get Arlo to not only face his fears, but to conquer them. He helps Arlo to set up a trap to capture the creature that is stealing corn from the family. As it turns out, the “creature” is actually a little human boy. Feeling sorry for the boy, Arlo lets him escape. When Poppa finds out that the boy has been let go, he takes Arlo on a dangerous journey to get the kid.

Being that this is a Disney film, a life-altering event happens – actually twice – which leads Arlo on a journey that will change his life. Arlo finds himself lost and in need of getting back to his family and who shows up? The kid. 


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