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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. …

Brian Henson Just Might Be Slowly Killing His Father’s Muppet Empire

Brian Henson
Brian Henson (Wikimedia)

 MOVIES 

Does Brian Henson actually hate his father’s legacy of creating wholesome entertainment for kids as well as their parents? The son of Jim Henson, the famous puppeteer and creator of the Muppets appeared on the very first episode of Sesame Street. This week, Sesame Workshop, the creators of the children’s show, is suing him. Next week, a judge “scheduled a hearing next week to consider a request for immediate relief by Sesame Workshop,” reports USA Today.

Henson’s latest directing project is The Happytime Murders which red-band trailer is being released during some screenings of Deadpool 2. The trailer portrays Muppet-looking puppets performing some very un-Muppet-like behavior (including sex acts) which the lawsuit states that the Sesame Street brand will be harmed. The trailer begins with the words, “After 35 years of entertaining children, the director of A Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island and Muppets Tonight is finally ready to reveal what goes down when kids aren’t around” and then precedes to show puppet prostitutes, puppets getting shot to smithereens, lots of swearing and the words, “No Sesame, All Street.”

The Happytime Murders poster
(STX Films)
The new adult comedy/thriller stars Melissa McCarthy as a human detective investigating a series of grisly puppet murders. The film also stars Elizabeth Banks, Maya Rudolph and Joel McHale. At least one Muppet puppeteer, Bill Baretta, is also involved.

Henson, who also served as the Executive Producer of the animated faith-based film, The Star which was released last year, made headlines for firing Steve Whitmire who was the voice of Kermit the Frog for 27 years. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Henson said that he should have let Whitmire go before he sold the company to Disney in 2004. After making claims that Whitmire was difficult to work with, Henson then said that he felt that Whitmire had “flattened out” Kermit’s personality over the years and thought Kermit had a “wry intelligences” and “a little bit of naughtiness” that didn’t come through with Whitmire’s interpretation. If The Happytime Murders is a reflection of the “naughtiness” Henson is speaking of, count me out. And I’m not the only one. Many longtime fans are crying “foul” in response to the trailer as well.

It should be noted that Disney has no involvement in The Happytime Murders movie. It is being distributed by STX Films and is expected to open in theaters on August 17.

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