'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. …

‘Dancing with the Stars: Athletes’ Crowns Winner

DWTS: Athletes finalists
Jenna Johnson and Adam Rippon, Sharna Burgess and Josh Norman,
Tanya Harding and Sasha Farber. (ABC)


It will be interesting to find out just how successful this spring’s Dancing with the Stars stunt was for ABC. Besides the fact that this season featured a cast of athletes only, the network truncated its usual ratings winning series down to just four weeks while seemingly trying to pretend that it was business as usual. Contestants were removed from the dance floor left and right and show’s usual three-hour finale spectacular was cut down to just one hour with barely having enough time to award the winner before American Idol’s live finale began. Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

Although one could argue that ABC tends to stretch each DWTS season a little too far and milk every moment for all its worth, this latest version was just too quick. It’s hard to get excited about a couple becoming the next mirror ball champs after just three weeks of competition.

DWTS: Athletes finalists and winners
Jenna Johnson and Adam Rippon are this season's winners
of the famed mirror ball trophy. (ABC)
For last night’s super-short finale, ABC boasted that all ten of the season’s stars would be involved in a “spectacular” dance number that lasted about two minutes. It had potential, but in the end was disappointing and looked like it was just slapped together. However, the truth of the matter, is that each of the three finalist couples deserved to be there. Ice skater Adam Rippon and Jenna Johnson received high marks for their jazz dance of “Anything You Can Do” from Annie Get Your Gun but left the judges confused with their freestyle performance of “Scooby Doo Pa Pa” by DJ Kass. Meanwhile, the other ice skater left, Tonya Harding, received all “10’s” for her freestyle dance of “I Will Survive” with Sasha Farber, but the duo scored lowest (albeit just a bit) for their Viennese Waltz “The Time of My Life” by David Cook. Footballer Josh Norman and Sharna Burgess scored well with the judges for both their Foxtrot to “Conqueror” and shirtless freestyle dance to “Walk on Water” by Thirty Seconds to Mars.

After the amazingly short amount of time for viewers to cast their votes, the winning couple for the Athletes edition was Adam Rippon and Jenna Johnson. Though she didn't win the mirror ball trophy, Tonya Harding was grinning ear to ear with the knowledge that America is apparently willing to give the controversial athlete a second chance, and I suspect that was good enough for her.

Dancing with the Stars will return in the fall with not only the show's traditional format but also a secondary Dancing with the Stars Junior to air on Sunday nights.


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