Writer: Polly Mann, Oren Moverman (Screenplay) Natalia Smirnoff (Original Screenplay)
Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Irrfan Khan, David Denham, Austin Abrams, Bubba Weiler
Plot: Agnes, taken for granted as a suburban mother, discovers a passion for solving jigsaw puzzles which unexpectedly draws her into a new world – where her life unfolds in ways she could never have imagined.
Runtime: 1 Hour 43 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Beautiful Life Drama
Story: Puzzle starts when housewife Agnes (Macdonald) receives a puzzle for her birthday, 1000 pieces which she finishes twice in one day, going about her everyday routine of making sure the house is tidy for her husband Louie (Denman) and kids Gabe (Abrams) and Ziggy (Weiler) she decides to look into getting her own puzzles.
Here she learns about competitive puzzling through Robert (Khan) a world champion who is looking for a new partner after his last, his wife left him. Robert starts to encourage Agnes to expand her horizons including getting out of her routine and learning to help her own children learn about their future.
Thoughts on Puzzle
Characters – Agnes is a lonely housewife that follows a routine that doesn’t give her much time with other people, she starts getting involved in doing puzzles and soon learns about competitive puzzle making with a stranger who is just as lonely in life. She gets offered a chance to compete as she starts to see her whole life start to spiral out of control because of the lack of communication in her family life. Robert is the competitive puzzle player that has been feeling lonely even after making his money through one invention. He does open Agnes’ eyes to a potential life after her kids have left home, one that could see her being happy again. Louie is Agnes husband, he works for their garage and beliefs his children will follow in his footsteps, he doesn’t like to let his kids think for themselves or Agnes. Ziggy is the eldest son that works with Louie, he dreams of more but doesn’t know how to speak to his parents about this dream.
Performances – Kelly Macdonald is wonderful to watch in this role which sees her bring us such a quiet performance which shows us just how easily life can spin out of control. Irrfan Khan is great to, showing us how life can give you everything and leave you not having enough. David Denman in the supporting role works very well as the husband that has become too reliant on his wife.
Story – The story here follows a housewife that has become bored of her routine after years of seeing people move away from her life, she gets involved in competitive puzzle making which sees another man showing her affection unlike her own husband. This is a drama that shows how easily people can get into routine and never want to explore just what could come from life, be it from an evening away or just a new hobby. We also get to see how proud a mother can become of their kids when they see they are reaching their next stage in life. We do get a look into competitive puzzle making which could be more interesting to see, but we get all we need from it as we are meant to be focusing on Agnes’ life more than anything else. This is a nice look that doesn’t blow life out of proportion which does feel grounded.
Settings – The film is set in and around New York which shows how the quiet life can be found outside of the big city too.
Final Thoughts – This is a nice drama that shows us just how life can make us feel lonely and want us to get more out of it, through the eyes of a lonely housewife.
Writer: Ben Loyd-Holmes, Adam Spinks (Screenplay)
Starring: Sarah Mac, Ben Loyd-Holmes, Neil Newbon, Daniel Caren, Emma Lillie Lees
Plot: Deep in the Amazon jungle a research team lead by a respected Professor strive to protect vulnerable and endangered species, but when their guides abandon them they soon realize they are in the hunting ground of prehistoric apex predators.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: By the Book ABC Found Footage
Story: Extinction: Jurassic Predators starts as we follow our documentary film crew, presenter Michelle (Mac) and cameraman James (Caren) who join the Professor John Howson (Loyd-Holmes), Rob (Newborn), Lisa (Lees), Tim (Burbage) on the expedition into the Peruvian rainforest to prove the effects humans have been having on the rainforest.
When one of the guides leaves the crew, they must make their way through the rainforest to find new species and for some reason we film a lot of walking and trying to get interviews and following the team collect moss. At the hour mark we get a visit from the dinosaurs living in the remote part of the rainforest and now we follow them look for a way to escape.
Thoughts on Extinction: Jurassic Predators
Characters – Michelle is the presenter of the documentary and we barely see her do any presenting, we have a small moment early on but otherwise the camera spends a lot of time to following her ass on screen. Professor Howson is the expect in the field and meant to be the star alongside Michelle in the documentary, he must lead them to safety through the rainforest. Rob is the second in command being a lot more laid back when dealing with any danger believing in his own abilities. James is the cameraman that at one moment states the obvious, another moment does all the stupid things and somewhere along the lines becomes the bravest member of the crew.
Story – Documentary crew heads into the rainforest to look for new species and they find some, but they are deadly, this is all we need from the film as a story, there are no major twists but it does take a while to get going as we must watch, walking, collecting moss, running and rocks for a lot of the time.
Adventure/Thriller – The adventure comes from the idea that we could be finding new species in the deepest darkest corners of the world and we are kept guess just who will make it out of the rainforest alive.
Settings – The rainforest is filled with species we might not have discovered yet, so this works for the settings needed for the film to take places.
Scene of the Movie – Can’t sense us if we don’t move.
Final Thoughts – This does feel like a long-found footage film that could have been cut down by a good 20 minutes to fit the idea of a found footage concept that works, short sweat and plenty of fun.
Overall: Watchable found footage.