Trailer Park Thursday: “Puzzle” and “Mary Shelley”

Before we head too far into this week’s Trailer Park: Yes, we know, the final trailer for Jurassic World: the Fallen Kingdom is out! And we only have to wait another two months for it to actually be released.

Is it just us, or is it harder to enjoy these dino flicks now that we know that our favorite prehistoric reptiles were likely all covered in feathers? Like, is it too late to make them just slightly more historically accurate? It’s not like the Jurassic Park franchise would have to change its logo—it’s already a skeleton!

But we digress. Instead of spending more time covering this already highly-covered preview, we’re taking a minute to talk about two women-centered dramas that focus on creative expression as a rebellious and personally revolutionary act. Let’s dive in, shall we?


When we first saw the poster for this, we were hoping it’d be a little more of a caper, like Adaptation or The Da Vinci Code—but, you know, with puzzles. Instead, it’s about how a middle-aged suburbanite named Agnes gets her groove back by making a relaxing hobby into a competitive sport. All good-natured snark aside, the quiet desperation of ordinary people can be amazing fodder for touching and heartfelt movies! Little Miss Sunshine comes immediately to mind, and funny enough, Puzzle is directed by the same guy who produced that gorgeous and deliciously dysfunctional family portrait. Will it be as charming and disarming? We can only hope. But it begs the question: What’s next? A new dramedy about adult coloring books? Paint your own pottery? Drink and draw? Actually, that last one sounds pretty solid. Puzzle, which stars Kelly McDonald as Agnes, David Denman (Roy from The Office, in essentially the same role) as Agnes’ husband, and Irfan Khan as Agnes’ puzzle partner, opens in theaters July 13, so you have plenty of time to get your jigsaw practice in. Speaking of which, be careful you don’t actually see Jigsaw instead! Very much extremely not the same movie.

Mary Shelley

Frankly, after The Neon Demon, we’re excited to see Elle Fanning in something a little less…cynical. We would have cast her as Rainbow Brite, but this works, too! Frankenstein is one of the most influential pieces of literature ever written, full stop, and it has been adapted, reimagined, and referenced time and again throughout the history of cinema. Accounts of its origin myth exist as well, notably in Ken Russell’s salacious Gothic (1986). And author Mary Shelley’s actual life unfolded much like a gothic novel itself, complete with evil stepmothers, affairs, suicide, and general libertinism.

We’re ready to see that get brought to life, so to speak, and we’re very excited that it will be directed by Haifaa al-Mansour, whose 2012 film Wadjda was the first feature ever directed by a Saudi woman. Ever. Needless to say, she’ll also be the first to direct a major Hollywood production. Wadjda, like Mary Shelley, is about a determined, enterprising, and mold-breaking young woman—though it’s a far lighter and more gentle story—so it will be really interesting to see what al-Mansour does with this very sexy and scary material. Will Mary Shelley be as “femme-powering” as critics say it is, or is that just some #resistance-era hype? We’ll find out over Memorial Day weekend when it hits theaters.

Do you love previews? We sure do! Every Thursday, we offer hot takes on intriguing upcoming releases (popcorn not included)—in case you missed it, check out last Thursday’s review of “The Cleanse” and “The Ashram” (popcorn not included).
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