'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. …

Brett Dalton is Reason Enough To See ‘The Resurrection of Gavin Stone’

Brett Dalton stars in "The Resurrection of Gavin Stone."
Brett Dalton stars in The Resurrection of Gavin Stone. (Walden Media)


Brett Dalton from Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD stars in the faith-based romantic comedy, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone and the end result is … he’s pretty good and might be reason enough to see it. Dalton plays a washed up former child actor who is tasked to take on some community service work to make up for his actions at a party that went out of control. The service work is at a church in the same town where he grew up far away from Hollywood.

After an eight-year absence, Gavin returns home to stay with dad Waylon (The Middle’s Neil Flynn) and is welcomed more or less to stay in his own bedroom only after Gavin swears that he’s clean. “Unlike Motel 6, I’m not going to leave the light on for you,” says Waylon. Gavin arrives for duty at the church and is a little surprised that Pastor Allen (D. B. Sweeney) doesn’t recognize him. Neither does his daughter Kelly (Anjelah Johnson-Reyes) but Gavin is smitten from the get go. He soon learns that Kelly is the director of the church’s passion play and Gavin thinks acting in the play would be better than scrubbing toilets. He auditions to play the role of Jesus (of course) and pretends to be a Christian giving a false testimony about how he learned to “let go and let God” and how he learned to “let Jesus take the wheel” of his life. Some of the cast totally buy in the charade but Kelly isn’t so sure. Oh well, he has roughly 90 minutes to prove himself.

Anjelah Johnson-Reyes and Brett Dalton
Anjelah Johnson-Reyes and Brett Dalton
As a whole, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone is a good movie and a pleasant film. Unlike some faith-based films, the characters are pretty realistic and one of the goals of the filmmakers were to portray the church as one where you would want to attend instead of relying on clichés. However, the movie falters a bit when it comes to the comedy. This is more of a film where one chuckles occasionally. This isn’t bad, but you can see that the film had more potential to be funny. The story is also very predictable too. Fortunately, the storyline and acting is enjoyable enough to sit through. Best parts are the scenes of the actual play where Gavin adlibs in a few places, really getting into character and starting to really see how Jesus can make a difference in his life without being overly preachy.

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