You may have heard that a certain not so little Warner Bros. Pictures tornado film called Into the Storm (poster left)–produced by Todd Garner, directed by Steven Quale, and written by John Swetnam–was swirling into towns across America and Canada this past weekend (other countries’ opening dates are here) and starring (in IMDB order, with most of the characters appearing in the image below):
* the rocking the stern dad of teenaged sons Gary Fuller portrayed by British actor Richard Armitage,
* the lovely and fierce scientist working mom portrayed by Dr. Allison Stone Sarah Wayne Callies,
* the annoyingly cocky lead storm chaser Pete portrayed by Matt Walsh,
* the next tween heartthrob shy elder son Donnie portrayed by Max Deacon,
* the adorably wisecracking younger son Trey portrayed by Nathan Kress,
* the smart and pretty high school it girl portrayed by Alycia Debnam Carey,
* the only sensible storm chaser portrayed by Arlen Escarpeta,
* and the worried for a good reason storm chaser portrayed by Jeremy Sumpter,
Heck! I gave them all descriptors so they wouldn’t feel left out. *wink*
And below is a pseudo family grouping of the lead actors (l to r: Kress, Callies, Armitage, and Deacon) taken at the August 4th, 2014 NYC Premiere of Into the Storm:
Embed from Getty Images
The general Into the Storm film plot is that half a dozen or more tornadoes devastatingly converge on the Middle Plains state town of Silverton, Oklahoma–wreaking havoc and destruction everywhere. Storm chasers are racing toward the tornadoes to film a documentary about them. Townies are trying to get away from the tornadoes to save their lives. And during the timeframe of the film, ordinary people–in the person of dad and Asst. Principal Gary Fuller and scientist Dr. Allison Stone (right and others–become everyday heroes, because they have to. And there is a plot element alluded to of planetary climate change not being well understood as it relates to more severe storms happening.
I saw Into the Storm this weekend with some fellow Richard Armitage Fans in Chicago (more about that further down in this post). No plot spoilers here, other than to say that there are several tense rescue efforts moments–the outcomes of which were not predictable by me. I flinched a couple of times at the appropriate moments of cgi mayhem in the film–yet I appreciated that they were not gory. And yes, as we have seen from previously released trailer footage and stills, Richard Armitage has to dive into water yet again–poor guy. And finally, there are some really annoying idiots who seem to have beer induced stupid antics serving as the movie’s unnecessary comic relief. Since this film is rated PG-13–to court teen audiences–I just want to add–kids, don’t try those antics at home.
For my overall review of several key features of the film, here is a quick checklist (5 stars = Best):
* Tornadoes and other special visual/CGI and sound effects were awesome and money well spent: 4.5 stars
* Photography, Set Design, Costuming, etc., complemented the scenes nicely: 4 stars
* Acting performances were credible, except for the annoying idiots mentioned above: 4 stars
* Middle West/Plains States accents by the British actors Armitage and Deacon were credible: 4 stars
* Plot/story were okay, but the film could have developed character motivations a little bit more before the tornado mayhem began, instead of giving film time to the annoying idiots: 3.5 stars
* Overall rating: 4 stars (It’s a nice little Summer movie.)
(N.B. On an unrelated note, the schlocky gory and violent horror story film trailers that we were subjected to before the film began: no stars and 2 thumbs down)
But the potential box office success of Into the Storm is really due to the large and concerted marketing campaign by Warner Bros. Pictures that has helped make Into the Storm’s opening weekend a respectable success with a projected $18 million take for August 8-10th (graphic below), as noted by Perry at her Armitage Agonistes blog. Into the Storm will make its movie budget and marketing monies back quickly–which is a win-win, considering the tornadoes were competing against turtles and guardians, among other films. And yet, Into the Storm ranks a respectable third in a sea of heavy hitters, according to Box Office Mojo. So congratulations to the Into the Storm filmmakers, cast, and crew!
P.S. And my hubby is rather an amateur weather geek–he gets up at 4:30 am every morning to read the temperature and precipitation instruments installed in our backyard by the regional National Weather Service office. So he looks forward to seeing Into the Storm, too. But since he rarely goes to the movies, he will wait for the dvd. So, there are also the dvd sales that Warner Bros. Pictures has to look forward to with regard to increasing Into the Storm’s overall gross. Ka ching, ka ching.
Back to Grati’s RA Fan Girls Group adventure in Chicago this past weekend for OpeRAtion “Into the Storm” 2014:
So when Richard Armitage’s new film Into the Storm finally got a release date of August 8th for the U.S.–three years from the start of filming in 2011 due to special effects suppliers issues–like a lot of RA Fans I made plans to see the film. Though my plans mushroomed into an RA Fans meet up called OpeRAtion “Into the Storm” 2014. Ha!
I co-planned (with SahRAobsessed and Obscura, Thanks!) and attended the Saturday August 9th Chicago gathering, while Marie Astra planned and attended the NYC gathering, and the Richard Armitage US Facebook folks in Atlanta were able to see the film early through preview tickets–thought I think they also plannedto see the film again Friday night. Other fans around the world have also expressed their interest in attending a screening during their country’s opening weekend–whether or not there is an RA Fans gathering event paired with it. But if you are planning an RA Fans meet up, please let me know and I will create an event tab and publicize your event news that you send to me (via the OpeRAtion Into the Storm 2014 site’s Contact Form).
So what I and others envisioned as a little grassroots campaign to encourage RA’s fans to see the film it’s opening weekends around the world to encourage box office sales–which is so important in movie success ranking comparisons–has taken root.
And this past weekend, a tidy group of eight diehard Richard Armitage fans new and long term made our way to Chicago for a RA Fans meet up and film viewing–which in my case, and a few others required an overnight stay since the film has no day time screens (the turtles got those). So for a reasonable $12 movie ticket (right) and upwards of $350 in travel costs–I told my hubby my trip covers me for birthday and Christmas gifts this year, and then some–Grati trekked to the big city of Chicago via Amtrak train.
The appeal of meeting with other RA Fans–including one lady whom I have visited with for other RA films or just for fun–was the additional bonus. Though RA Fans chat with each other over social media, to me it is still a little bit of a surreal experience–forming what I consider to be real friendships with some people on line without having ever met them face to face. So it is so lovely to meet ladies in reality whom I have chatted with virtually. I will give away no identities of our Chicago attendees–real or virtual. The ladies who attended may out themselves if they so wish. Ha! Lunch was a lovely sharing of our thoughts about RA–with a few of the ladies recounting meeting him briefly after a performance or for an event, or who are yet going to see Richard Armitage as John Proctor in The Crucible at The Old Vic in London. Lucky ladies!
Then as we split into interest groups, site seeing ensued to various places like the Art Institute or the Chicago Cultural Museum. Though I opted to fully check into my hotel and rest my legs (arthritis) and lungs (asthma) in the hotel air conditioning a bit. Chicago was slightly warm, but the weather was really beautiful with a cooling breeze with only a touch of humidity. And one of the gals joined me in my suite and we chatted and caught up with each other. Lovely!
I must say that the suite was gorgeous with a separate sitting room with a small kitchen (I retrieved my pix, but it is still fuzzy, sorry) suitable for business and extended stay travelers, and a comfy king sized bed bedroom (essential for my 6 ft four inch tall hubby) (my pix right)–at a really great price (half of what some other centrally located hotels charged for just a bed and bathroom). I recommend it highly–the hotel was the Homewood Suites by Hilton at 160 E. Huron St., Chicago.
And I promise the ladies that I will email them the group picture we took at the movie theater as soon as I can figure out how to get it off my new smart phone. Ha! The files seemed too big to email to myself. But here’s the thing, there were no Into the Storm movie posters at the AMC River East 21 movieplex for us to stand in front of for our group picture. So Warner Bros. Pictures should think about sending them some for display–and/or, reminder their movie theatre distributors to display the movie poster that they have already received.
After the movie, our RA Fan Gals group hopped on a city bus or walked from the movie theater to Chicago’s Navy Pier–there is also a free Navy Pier Trolley that runs in a circle from State Street down to Gateway Park at Navy Pier and back again. But it was packed. I opted for the cta due to my leg issues. And thanks to one of my RA Fan Girl friends for her using her cta pass for me, too! When we arrived, I finally realized how huge Navy Pier is (below). Just imagine ten cruise ships of varying sizes–including a beautiful 4 mast sailing yacht–moored end to end-with even more pier left after that.
And wouldn’t you know that the restaurant we chose was near the other end of the pier from the entrance–and with no alternate mode of transportation in sight. Frankly, it seemed like a daunting prospect to me as we wove in and around the shops and the crush of people inside the building before we made our way to the outside to complete our long long journey. I have been trying to increase my range with some golf over the Summer–although we use a cart. However Navy Pier is a whole other level of long walking–blocks and blocks of it.
But I have to giggle because when I get into a mindset of I need to reach my destination so I can sit down mode, I plow ahead with dogged determination and I walk at rather a fast clip–or so my RA Fan Friend with me told me that I walked fast. Somehow, amazingly, I eventually made it to the restaurant’s location on foot and we secured two four person side by side tables on the veranda. And we had a lovely view of Lake Michigan (image is also stuck on my smartphone). More amusing RA Fangirl discussions ensued as we waited for our food and then later our dessert.
At one point, we erupted into such a cacophony of prolonged laughter that we were easily the most fun tables to be at. Ha! As to the source of our merriment? All I will say is that there was a very amusing and unauthorized Into the Storm gif that provoked our giggles. There is something about seeing movements repeated over and over again out of context–suck, release, suck, release, suck, release–that lends itself to other interpretations. *wink* We were naughty saucy ladies–but very tame ones. Ha!
Then we wished each other farewell, hugs all around, as we headed off into our different directions–some to their homes nearby, others like me to their hotels. It was delightful meeting each one of my RA Fan Girl companions on Saturday. And I was thrilled that we had all traveled to be together. Enjoying Richard Armitage artistic projects is definitely better when shared.
Of course, I now had to traverse the length of Navy Pier again to get out of there. And by this time of the night, my left hip and my right ankle were toast–my arthritis is no respecter of RA Fan girl outings. So my means of locomotion could not charitably be called walking–more like pivot, drag, pivot drag, pivot drag. Igor from Young Frankenstein comes to mind–but I have better hair. Snap! Yet, I pushed onward–with one of my RA Fan Girl friends walking with me, keeping an eye out for me. Bless her heart!. And then my finally reaching a taxi that took me to my hotel where I managed to shower and then collapse onto my hotel bed to read some North & South fan fiction a bit until I had to try to go to sleep and ignore the constant ambulance sounds emitted from a nearby hospital.
I was doing no more walking Saturday night. Ooh! And it turns out that my ankle is still wacked today/ Sunday–even with a 2 hour train ride where I was off my feet. So I have iced and elevated it all day–with more tomorrow/Monday. It’s a good thing that I had also taken Monday off from work–I may even invoke my crutches to get around and not have to put weight on my ankle. But the moral of my story is not that I’m in pain and hobbling around. This too shall pass is how I feel about it.
And though I don’t talk about myself much, I feel that my sharing that I forged ahead with the Chicago trip –despite its known physical limitations challenges for me–will hopefully help others who are wondering if they should try to do something. You can do it–adapting as needed. And you’ll have fun.
But maybe a little bit like the characters in Into the Storm, who find that they must do more than what they think they are humanly capable of, I do that as well sometimes. And I draw my strength from enjoying the artistic projects of the exquisitely talented Richard Armitage (at the NYC Into the Storm Premier August 4th, right; Purrr!) and from my RA Fan girl friends. And I will walk or hobble to support RAs artistic projects any time.
Thanks and Cheers!