Now for a change of pace...

I'm not a movie critic, like I'm not a connoisseur of anything (well, sushi maybe...), but I viewed a DVD yesterday that I really liked, and made me think about even now.

It's called "The Ruins." It doesn't have a load of A-list stars. In fact, it doesn't have *any* A-listers, and that's a good thing for this film, because one really has to identify with the principals in order for it to work. Like with "Blair Witch Project," it wouldn't have worked if the audience thinks 'oh, it's Brad Pitt playing [whatever part].'

The one star it DOES have is Ben Stiller, as executive producer. Nice work, Ben, because on the commentary section, many alternate choices were considered for important scenes, and in each one the right choice was made.

The plot? A group of young adults on vacation decide on the spur of the moment to assist a new acquaintence in finding his brother, who has gone in search of some ruins but has not returned. That's all you need to know, and don't let it make you think you've seen/heard the story before. You haven't.

CGI? Not so much. And clearly only where there was no other choice. I'm not a fan of kablooie for kablooie's sake. Nor do I like special effects which create situations or results which otherwise would be law-of-physics impossible. Let the special effects crews [SEC] create, not the computers. And in "The Ruins" the SEC comes thru with a bang (which is really the only bang in the flick).

If you liked Hitchcock's "The Birds," you will like this. For reasons I won't go into now because it will spoil a lot of the essence of it, I won't explain why I feel that way. If you are reasonably perceptive, you will understand why I say that after you've seen it.

The acting is good, and low-key for a thriller. There's good reason for hysterics from the principals, but the director chose to make the group level-headed and intelligent. What flip-outs there were, were logical and brief.

There is much to get nit-picky about - why did they [whatever], and why is this [whatever], and 'that wouldn't have happened.' Well, to that kind of movie-goer I say, 'just stop that!' "2001, a Space Odyssey" wouldn't be the classic it is if it got pecked to death by cinema-ducks. Movies depend on willing suspension of disbelief. There's not that much to suspend in this film, so if thrillers are your thing, just sit back and enjoy it. Or not. Your taste, your choice, but give it a try, since there's always the off-button if you don't.

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