'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. …

‘Angel From Hell’ is Surprisingly Sweet

Review of CBS' "Angel From Hell."
Maggie Lawson and Jane Lynch star in Angel From Hell
(Cliff Lipson/CBS)
Well, it ain’t no Touched By an Angel, in fact, it is far from it, but the new CBS comedy, Angel From Hell is actually good. At least the pilot episode is. It’s a wacky comedy that shouldn’t work, but it does thanks to its outstanding cast.

Unlike Touched By an Angel, this comedy doesn’t appear to have any biblical basis behind it. The wonderful Jane Lynch plays Amy who may or may not be Allison’s (Maggie Lawson) guardian angel. She doesn’t really offer any real proof that she has come from the heavenlies. She doesn’t sport any wings or halo, she doesn’t have any problem smoking, she loves her Crème de menthe and she isn’t afraid to use some salty language here and there. She even gets a little stomach upset. In short, she is the least likely person to be anyone’s guardian angel.

Alison, a cautious professional dermatologist, meets the free spirit Amy at a farmer’s market and the two have a nice, brief chat. Then, no matter where Alison goes, Amy keeps popping up offering her unwanted advice. As you can imagine, the fact that Amy knows so much about Alison’s life is unnerving, but she finally admits that she kinda likes this new weird friend. The end of the episode leaves you guessing if Amy is really divine or just crazy.

The show also stars Kevin Pollak as Alison’s father and business partner and the loveable Kyle Bornheimer as Alison’s younger brother, Brad, who is living in a guest room over her garage. The reason why is unclear as he is a real estate agent.

Unfortunately, I don’t have high hopes for this one. While I really enjoyed the pilot episode, I understand that many critics didn’t, but I do realize that if the show doesn’t mix things up a bit, it will become tiresome quickly. Some will no doubt be offended that an angel is portrayed in such a negative light, but keep in mind that the show doesn’t intend to be biblically accurate but instead just a cute anecdote. Perhaps Monica from Touched can visit sometime and the two angels can have a showdown. That would be fun.

Angel From Hell airs on Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBS.


promote my blog