Producer Todd Garner
Stormy Saturday: Digital Spy–Into the Storm Joins the Disaster Movie Genre, with a Twist-er, August 16, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #19)
The importance of character development and story plots to films is essential. But now films have the innovation of special effects that can create additional characters such as other worldy Aliens from the puppet shop, Middle Earthian beings through motion capture, and CGI created entities be they fire, wind, rain, or dirt–or all mixed together, as they are in the recently released (in the U.S. and Canada, but due to be released in the UK August 20th) film Into the Storm’s visual effects.
So I was especially keen to read Simon Reynolds Digital Spy article yesterday–Into the Storm and the Changing Face of the Disaster Movie”— about the disaster movie genre. He gave several examples of disaster movies–the big films I remember seeing more than once are Earthquake, The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure, the Airport 77 and other films, etc. These films all had international casts including U.S. film industry giants such as Charleton Heston, Ava Gardner, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, Red Buttons, Jacqueline Bisset, Jimmy Stewart, etc., and you cared what happened to their characters. Just as I was concerned for the outcome of several of the characters in Into the Storm (but I will give no spoilers).
However, Reynolds lets Into the Storm (image left) Director Steven Quale explain people’s seeming fascination with dire situations made into movies:
“And why do we love the disaster movie? Quale has a very simple theory about living vicariously through big-screen entertainment. “I think audiences are fascinated with what terrifies them,” he says. “There’s a certain part of human nature, you want to see what it would be like to be right there in the eye of the storm.
“Many people are too afraid to go storm chasing and do it for real, so they go see a movie to get that experience and that sensation of living through it.””
Or as one of the Into the Storm film’s stars, the talented British Actor Richard Armitage—who portrays Dad and Asst. Principal Gary Fuller (right, in blue shirt; with eldest son Donnie portrayed by Max Deacon being cradled in his arms, and younger son Trey portrayed by Nathan Kress looking over his shoulder)– framed his response when asked a similar question:
Maybe, as Mr. Armitage suggests, we all hope that we will rise to the occasion if circumstances required us to try to save someone else’s life. Or, that we would persevere and pick up the pieces of our lives and move forward after a catastrophe.
So, I will undoubtedly see the film Into the Storm again–both for the human stories it presents, as well as, for the amazing visual effects on display, such as the firenado sequence.
Below is a teaser trailer of the Todd Garner Produced Warner Bros. Pictures film Into the Storm–with quite a lot of Richard Armitage’s character Gary Fuller in it–to further encourage your interest in seeing the film Into the Storm:
“Into The Storm – HD Trailer 2 – Official Warner Bros.” a video shared by Warner Bros. UK
Reblog–Stormy Monday: Grati’s “Into the Storm” Review and RA Fans Meetup in Chicago, Etc., August 11, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #18)
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 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 to seeing the film. 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
And I must say that the suite was gorgeous with a separate sitting room with a small kitchen (my pix turned out fuzzy and doesn’t do it justice, but you get the idea) 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). 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.
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 Premiere August 4th, right; Purrr!) and from my RA Fan girl friends. And I will walk or hobble to support RAs artistic projects anytime.
Thanks and Cheers!
Stormy Sunday: Chicago Itinerary Checklist for OpeRAtion Into the Storm 2014 RA Fans Film Viewing Gathering, August 03, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #14)
If you are joining us for our planned Chicago or New York City RA Fans seeing the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage’s (image of his in character as Gary, right) new film Into the Storm on Saturday August 9th, hopefully you have already started your travel planning. We are seven days away from our RA Fans meet ups in Chicago and in New York City on August 9th.
Please be sure to complete the Contact Form by Thursday Aug. 7th on this web site (see tab on home page above) to let us know that you will be joining us. I/Grati need accurate counts for lunch and dinner reservations (everyone pays their own way).
And with all of the rave reviews coming from people who saw the film in previews, Into the Storm is sure to be an exciting film. In this interview hyperlinked here, Into the Storm Director Steven Quale.talks about the special effects challenges of the film.
But tornadoes are serious business–not for the faint of heart–and lives are devastated each year when they strike. So as a tie-in to the movie Into the Storm, there is a SpReAd the Love plan to make a donation to disaster relief organizations via the SpReAd the Love campaign with each act of kindness given or received. I’m donating a pint of my blood on Monday to our local Red Cross agency. Won’t you also consider sharing a kindness given or received–especially within the RA Fandom? Your sharing will put money into disaster relief organizations coffers via an anonymous donor. Thanks to Jazzbaby1 and Obscura for organizing this SpReAd the Love tie-in to the Into the Storm film.
Below is a Detailed Itinerary for our Chicago August 9th OpeRAtion Into the Storm 2014 RA Fans Gathering (everybody pays their own expenses):
11:45am meet at Macy’s 111 N. State Street Chicago at their Walnut Room (I’m making us a reservation for 10 people so far) for 12noon lunch (Macy’s was formerly known as Marshall Fields); arrive early at 11:30am and go to Macy’s lower level Visitor Center to buy a $35 Shopping Package (see right), the gift card may be used toward Macy’s purchases, including lunch at the Walnut Room; and you also get a neat Macy’s shopping bag and the traditional chocolate Frango mints, etc. Note that for the 10% off visitors pass part of the shopping package, Macy’s said that that promotion is only for people who live 200 or more miles away.
1:30 – 4pm site seeing and shopping (we can split up if people’s interests vary); here are some choices:
* shopping a bit at Macy’s after lunch (note that Macy’s shopping package deal mentioned above (and detailed in the graphic below)
* walking from Macys to the Art Institute, we could just take a leisurely window shopping stroll along State Street and Michigan Avenue
* please note that the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) has purse size limit guidelines and handy $1/item bag checking for items not allowed into the museum. And here is the Art Institute’s admission fees page (the range seems to be $14 – $23); Current AIC exhibitions (sample below) are eclectically divine for those of us who like the French impressionists (tons of Monet haystack paintings), modern masters, blown glass paperweights, art and artifacts from antiquity, etc. The AIC is a feast of cultures and histories from around the world and also from our own backyard. You will find me making a beeline for the blue hued splendor of the Chagall windows when we arrive. And as a finale to your visit, the AIC has the most fabulous Museum Gift Store!
* Millennium Park–an outdoor garden, playground, cultural venue that has, among other things, the much touted bean (that silvery mirrored thingy, ha!)
* shopping at Navy Pier; someone indicated that there is a free trolley or bus for transportation within Navy Pier’s shops and such
* Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower)–the tallest building in the world for a really long time
Art Institute of Chicago maps of exhibits:
4:30pm arrive for 5:00pm viewing of Into the Storm at AMC River East 21 Movie Theatre at 322 E. Illinois Street, Chicago; Please be sure to buy your movie tickets online days ahead of time at Fandango to avoid the problem of the movie being sold out; My ticket says auditorium 10, in case they are showing the film in two theatre auditoriums at the same time
7:00pm we head to dinner after the movie to decompress, unwind, and review the film (the restaurant is tba, the AMC River East 21 Movie Theatre has MacGuffin’s Bar & Lounge, or other restaurant at nearby Navy Pier that we decide upon) ; then after?
Please note that transportation between venues that are not within easy walking distance of each other will be by hailing a taxi at each individual’s expense.
P.S. My room at the hotel reservations I booked for Homewood Suites by Hilton Chicago that is centrally located at 160 E. Huron (formerly the Crowne Plaza) in Chicago, near Michigan Avenue. Their phone is (312) 585-9333 should you also wish to book a room–we do not have a block of rooms, but you might still be able to get a reservation. These are nicely sized suites that are the most economical I found–everything else for only a single room was 2 or 3 times this. And the Hilton hotel reservation folks cut me a deal as a government employee (for just under $200). Snap! So if anyone needs a place to stay Saturday night and wants to split this hotel cost with me, please contact me via this blog’s contact form. Thanks!
Stormy Sunday: “Into the Storm” Early Preview Showings “Garner” Positive Buzz per MeandRichard Tweet Review, July 13, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #09)
Hundreds of people across the US and around the world were delighted to attend early preview showings of the talented British actor Richard Armitage’s new film being released in August 2014 called Into the Storm. From New Line Cinema and Village Roadshow Pictures, Into the Storm is a Warner Bros. Pictures film produced by Todd Garner (yes, the title of this post was a shameless pun), directed by Steven Quale, and written by John Swetnam (synopsis found here, under top left menu link). You might have heard of it. Ha!
If not, look at the top of this blog. We’re a grassroots fan based OpeRAtion Into the Storm 2014 group encouraging Richard Armitage fans to see the film its opening weekend in their area around the world–to help boost box office film rankings and support the success of the film. And we are even planning some low key RA Fan gatherings to watch the film together and then debrief after. Snap! See tabs above for more logistics soon for the Chicago, New York City, and Atlanta gatherings.
And how do we know that we will enjoy a film about tornadoes when some of us are more cravat, corset, and crinoline Jane Austen and other period drama oriented fans? Well take a gander at Michaela Servetus’ (Thanks!) recent blog post gathering a nice cross section of dozens of people’s tweets of their reactions to the film Into the Storm after seeing it during film previews–with audience tweets running 90% positive via a quick perusal by Servetus. Outstanding! It seems that seeing other people overcome life threatening challenges appeals to many of us. Perhaps it is the Walter Mitty in us–hoping that we will rise to the occasion if we are faced with difficult circumstances.
Audiences love the film! So if you’re like me, then you are now even more impatient to see Richard Armitage’s new film Into the Storm being released on August 8th in the US.
P.S. ***Spoiler Alert*** And according to Saraobsessed who is helping to plan our Chicago Into the Storm gathering viewing on August 9th–she was a lucky lady in one of the Into the Storm preview showings last week–Richard Armitage’s character’s name is now Gary Fuller (formerly Gary Morris). A character name change is not so strange considering the film Into the Storm, itself, has gone through several name changes: Category Six (too hurricane like), Black Sky (actually, it is more green), and now Into the Storm.
And the new last name for Richard Armitage’s character to Fuller seems an interesting change, considering when I was doing a guessing game on RA’s character’s name over on my regular blog almost two years ago, I looked at how a name sounds, and at the counties in Oklahoma, and other naming schemes, but Fuller was not on my radar. So much for my guessing ability–at least on the last name. Ha!
However, there is a country singer named Gary Morris who made famous the song “The Wind Beneath My Wings” (see video below). And if the Into the Storm filmmakers had kept Richard Armitage’s character’s name Gary Morris, it would have been quite a prosaic character name for a movie about tornadoes (winds times 100) and an everyman father challenged by circumstances to become a hero to his sons and to others.
However Gary Fuller still works as a regular guy hero name. That’s the thing about real heroes and their names. In real life, it is their deeds of courage and kindness, or of expertise, or of uplifting social reform bettering a society that inspire us–and then their names become synonymous with hope. I think of Lenny Skutnick, of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, and of Jane Addams to name a few familiar individuals in the US. They were not born into greatness, yet their deeds and actions and lives made them great.
And for Richard Armitage’s Into the Storm character of Gary Fuller (image right), a man trying to save his sons and the students in his charge from a deadly natural disaster? As shared by the film’s studio, Warner Bros. Pictures, quoted below is how Mr. Armitage described his perspective about why humans are so fascinated with heroic tales in the face of adversity–inspiration:
Richard Armitage will no doubt bring his own wealth of humanity and his own immeasurable personal dignity to the role he portrays of Gary Fuller in Into the Storm.
P.S. Updates after tweeting this post link:
A real life meteorologist and storm chaser, Jaclyn Whittal of The Weather Network (TWN) and broadcaster likes the film “Into the Storm” (for more about Ms. Whittal, visit http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/weather-network-meteorologists-and-storm-chasers-mark-robinson-and-jaclyn-whittal-return-to-tornado-alley/27507/):
And saving the best for last, “Into the Storm” Producer Todd Garner appreciates our OpeRAtion “Into the Storm” 2014 grassroots efforts:
P.S. And finally, here is that Gary Morris song: “Gary Morris – The Wind Beneath My Wings [stereo LP version]” a video by mroldmusic1
Extensive Interview with “Into the Storm” Cast and Filmmakers at Live For Films, July 2, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #06)
Into the Storm Director Steven Quale, Producer Todd Garner–and stars Richard Armitage portraying Asst. Principal Gary Morris and father of two and Sarah Wayne Callies portraying meteorologist Allison Stone–discuss the film in the most detail than we have heard or read to date in an interview with Phil Edwards for Live for Films (image right). Thanks to my good friend Kitty for the article link. Here is an excerpt of the article:
“For his part, [Director Steven] Quale hopes Into the Storm lures audiences as much for its awe-inspiring effects as for its compelling human drama. That drama arrives like a one-two punch when a tornado tears through a high school graduation ceremony in America’s Tornado Alley. Vice Principal, teacher, coach and father of two, Gary Morris, played by [Richard] Armitage, forms a quick bond with Sarah Wayne Callies’ Allison Stone, when in a snap moment Gary saves her from one of the tornadoes.
“One of the keys to the character is that he’s a math teacher and football coach,” says Armitage. “So I worked backwards from what he’d be required to do. He’s kind of a sporty guy, but he’s no hero. An extreme event like this becomes about a normal guy, an everyman, having to effectively run into a burning building or dive into water to save a kid. You don’t know if you can do it until that moment presents itself.””
For more of this extensive interview in Live for Films about the Warner Bros. Pictures film Into the Storm, visit: