Wonder Con

Stormy Saturday: Digital Spy–Into the Storm Joins the Disaster Movie Genre, with a Twist-er, August 16, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #19)

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into-the-storm-poster_Aug1514digitalspyThe 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 Armitagewho portraysInto-the-Storm--MorrisFamily-viaItalian-ITS-FB-1-14May14_Jul0614ranet-crop 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


Reminders for Chicago August 9th–Richard Armitage’s Fans Gathering & Film Viewing for OpeRAtion Into the Storm 2014,  August 8, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #17)

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Hi RA Fans joining us in Chicago on August 9th for our gathering together for a fun day–capping it off with seeing our favorite exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage’s new film, Into the Storm,


We are looking forward to seeing you in Chicago, dashing around town, and enjoying Richard Armitage’s new film, Into the Storm!


Please print out our  final event itinerary graphic below (click on the image to enlarge it and save it to your phone or computer first). Our itinerary summary will help you find us at any given time on Saturday if you are delayed in joining us–or if we split up for some of us shopping and some of us site seeing in the afternoon.



For links for the venues mentioned in the graphic above, please refer to this earlier post:  “Stormy Sunday:  Chicago Itinerary Checklist …” (on August 3rd).   But note that we are no longer eating lunch at the Walnut room because they are catering a wedding.


By 12noon (CST) today/Friday, I will also email additional information to individuals who have completed this website’s Contact Form by 11:00am stating that they will be joining us.  If you already completed the Contact Form once to indicate you are joining us, you don’t have to do it again. But if you don’t receive my email by 1pm, then please comment below, I will try to resend it to you.


The last official count for those joining us in Chicago is eight–down one due to Obscura developing an illness that prevents her from traveling far afield.  She is bummed, but Obscura will be with us in spirit.  And I’m sure that we all send her our very best get well wishes.  Hugs!


And if you decide at the last minute that you can join us, but you haven’t had a chance  to complete this website’s Contact Form to let us know?  By all means, please join us!   But realize that there will be important information in the email that I send out at 12noon today/Friday. So please try to complete the Contact Form by 11am today/Friday–to give me/Grati time to prep the email.


Please pose any additional questions you have in a comment to this post below–and I/Grati will respond to them in a comment–not via email (which is wonky when I’m on the road).  However, I will be on a train heading toward Chicago as of 7:30am Saturday.  So please pose your comment questions on the website as soon as possible Friday to insure that I can respond to you and everyone–since others might have a similar question to yours and it makes it easier on me to respond once.  But while I’m riding the Amtrak train to Chicago on Saturday–and when I have reception–I will also respond to you.


Finally, however you are getting to Chicago–car, train, bus, plane, or stepping out your door and walking or bicycling–please have a safe journey to us.


The planning of this event was organized by three core individuals–Grati, Sahraobsessed, and Obscura.  But all of you had a say in how our event planning evolved through your participation in surveys and your helpful suggestions and other contributions. Thanks!


So one final time–to build your excitement for seeing Richard Armitage in his new film, Into the Storm, its opening weekend–enjoy the video!


“Into the Storm – Official Main Trailer [HD]” by Warner Bros. Pictures


See you Saturday!  We are going to have a blast!  And remember, what happens in Chicago, stays in Chicago. Ha!

P.S. Don’t forget that Marie Astra is coordinating the August 9th New York City RA Fans gathering to view Into the Storm. So please email her if you wish to attend and/or have questions at marieastra8@gmail.com



Stormy Sunday: Chicago Itinerary Checklist for OpeRAtion Into the Storm 2014 RA Fans Film Viewing Gathering, August 03, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #14)

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pIntotheStorm2014ChicagoViewingPosterJun0714GratianaLovelace_400x686--sizedlargerIf you are joining us for our planned Chicago or New York City RA Fans seeing the exquisitely talented IntotheStorm--RichardArmitageasGary_MovieNewsPlus3-25Jul14_Aug0214ranetBritish 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.

SpReAd-the-Love-Into-the-Storm-Challenge_Aug0214Jazzbaby1But 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 10TheWalnutRoom-description-by-OpenTable_Jul2614crop2 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 Art-Institute-of-Chicago-Exhibitions_Aug0214AICitems 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
*  etc.

Millennium-Park-logo_Aug0214cityofchicago-crop-url  Willis_Tower_Chicago_Aug0214WillisTower


Art Institute of Chicago maps of exhibits:

Art-Institute-of-Chicago-Floor1Map_Aug0214AIC  Art-Institute-of-Chicago-Floor2Map_Aug0214AIC

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!

Fun Day Sunday: OpeRAtion “Into the Storm” 2014 Web Site Launches for RA Fans Planning Film Viewing Gatherings, June 8, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1)

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Fans of the exquisitely talented British Actor Richard Crispin Armitage–aka Richard Armitage, orzzzPost#1--RichardArmitage_pix6_FaveBritArtistof2013Jun0714ranet-and-TheAnglophileChannel-sized simply RA [(1) right] — have made friends around the world in our blogging, tweeting, chatting, vidding, fan ficcing, graphic arting, and such.  And, we like meeting up with each other to view and to support RA’s artistic projects almost as we would enjoy (or have enjoyed, for some of you) meeting the man himself, Richard Armitage.  Almost. Ha!

So as the dates of the world wide release of RA’s latest film project “Into the Storm” approach, zzInto-the-storm-us-movie-poster-faketicket_May1814its-wb_wcredits-GratianaLovelace-manipseveral of us RA Fans have been talking about gathering together to view the film its opening weekend to support Richard Armitage and his film.   Opening weekend ticket sales can make or break a film’s subsequent success.   With the reasoning being that the more people who see a film–and the bigger the box office sales–this encourages others to give a film a chance and see the film, thus increasing overall box office sales and a film’s ranking of success based on ticket sales.

For more about the film, visit the official Into the Storm movie site, view the teaser trailer released by Warner Bros. Pictures here, and like “Into the Storm” on Facebook. Below from the Facebook page is an action shot from “Into the Storm” featuring Nathan Kress (far left) portraying Trey, son to Richard Armitage’s character Gary Morris (middle), who is shielding storm chaser Allison Stone portrayed by Sarah Wayne Callies (far right). The list of filmmakers for “Into the Storm” include Producer Todd Garner, Director Steven Quale and writer John Swetnam, among others. Produced by Broken Road Productions and New Line Cinema, “Into the Storm” is a Warner Bros. Pictures production.


There are about nine cities/regions mentioned so far where RA Fans have indicated to me that they are willing to try to plan an “Into the Storm” viewing gathering in their region, or they would like to attend a viewing gathering (in the U.S. except where noted):

Atlanta Georgia                    Chicago Illinois                      Berkshire/London (England)

Boulder Colorado                   Los Angeles California         New York City New York

Portland Oregon                   Toronto, Canada                    Washington, D.C.

It is helpful to have two or three people organizing each city’s/region’s event so you can share the planning details. But we hope these events will be low stress for the organizers–identifying movie theatre venues and a time to see the film in their region, publicizing that information here and elsewhere, with potential attendees indicating their plans to attend and buying their own tickets ahead of time. Keeping this film viewing planning streamlined and not overwhelmingly complicated is key to having fun Operation “Into the Storm” 2014 gatherings for everyone.

For example, myself, saraobsessed, Obscura, and others are working together to plan a Chicago pIntotheStorm2014ChicagoViewingPosterJun0714GratianaLovelace_200x343sidebarsizelocated RA Fans meet up “Into the Storm” film viewing on Saturday, August 9th [(2) right] –lunch, see film, chat after film–with potential additional activities (site seeing, dinner, etc.) for those of us who might travel into town the day or night before (on Aug. 8th).  Hey!  What happens in Chicago, stays in Chicago.  Ha!    So we are also looking into seeing if we can get a discount rate for a block of rooms, restaurants, etc. And as a further enticement, I have offered to pay for the movie ticket, popcorn, and drink (up to $20) of the RA Fan who travels to Chicago from the farthest away–or we can take up a $1 collection when we arrive for that purpose–in case we want to have two prizes, etc.

But some Operation “Into the Storm” 2014 film viewing events might simply be RA Fans meeting up to see the film and maybe chatting afterward.  And that is okay–we are each supporting Richard Armitage’s film in our own way.  Whatever organizers want to plan for their event is fine–as long as “they” plan it. And the simplest is RA Fans viewing the film its opening weekend by themselves even if there isn’t a fan gathering in their region. All RA Fans viewing formats support Richard Armitage and his film, “Into the Storm”. It’s all good.

And I am also hoping to share ideas with other RA Fans organizing a viewing gathering in their area by creating this general web site where the organizers of each region’s events may share their information with potential attendees and everyone else. In the coming weeks,I will work on setting up sub pages to this website  for each of the cities/regions that have people willing to organize a gathering.  And I will ask those organizers to email me their text and graphics so I can begin to setup their event information pages. I will email them this coming week with this site’s new email address.

I am also going to see if Warner Brothers Pictures or New Line Cinemas have small promotional items for “Into the Storm” to give away–such as lanyards, key chains, or t-shirts, etc.–and plan to ask if they might make them available to us as a group or for door prizes.  So closer to the event, I will need each organizer to let me know their potential numbers and then I will make one request for all of us.  Fingers crossed. That way, the producers/studio are not receiving multiple requests.

Please use the “Contact Operation Into the Storm 2014 Admin” link to contact me with your general ideas or questions.  Or, if a particular post invites your response or vote on a poll, please comment/vote with that post. When we have contact information publicized for the individual cities/regions that might have an RA Fans Operation “Into the Storm” 2014 film viewing event, I will ask that you contact those lead organizers directly for questions related specifically to their event planning.

My hope is to post a featured article about OpeRAtion “Into the Storm” 2014–either written by me orzzzPost#1--ArmitageFansGoogleMapLink_Jun0714TannniStradeDeCom by one of the other regional film viewing event organizers– on “Fun Day” Sundays, but perhaps not every Sunday, until we get closer to the initial release of “Into the Storm” and our RA Fans film viewing gathering events in North America on August 8-10th.  Then if there are RA Fans planning film viewing events in other countries–because Richard Armitage Fans live literally around the world, right (Go Global Team Armitage! Ha!)–and you want to share your information on this site, I am happy to make a sub page for you and post pertinent information related to your event that you provide to me.

I am initially building this website as of June 7th, 2014. I hope to include helpful links across the top and along the right sidebar of this website as I develop them. I am still learning how to use this particular “theme” or web site format, so please bear with me as we go along. So there will be inevitable tweaks and additions. I am counting upon my fellow RA Fans to gently make suggestions about features to this web site to make it as user friendly as possible.  Some suggestions we will able to do, and some not–because we are using a free website template, and super duper whiz bang features often cost money.  Ha!

zzzPost#1--RichardArmitageasJohnProctorPortrait_Jun0114TheOldVicIn closing, let me give a heartfelt cheer for the man whom we all so admire–as much for his talented acting and storytelling as for his kind and gentlemanly demeanor and his witty self-effacing humor–Richard Armitage. And oh yeah, love that riveting piercing gaze and smoulder of his.  Sighhhh!  *THUD*

Thanks and Cheers!   Grati  June 8, 2014
aka Gratiana Lovelace


References not hyperlinked above

1)      Portrait of Richard Armitage being interviewed by The Anglophile Channel for him winning the Favorite British Artist o f 2013 Fan Award was found at at the wonderful resource site www.RichardArmitageNet.com at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Interviews/AnglophileInterview/album/anglophile-6.jpg

2)      The Operation “Into the Storm” 2014 Chicago Aug. 9th RA Fans viewing event poster is a composite of two images:
a) background image is the official movie poster slightly altered (added credits, etc) found at http://intothestormmovie.com/ ; and
b) Masked image of Richard Armitage as Gary Morris with his sons (portrayed by Max Deacon and Nathan Kress) found at richardarmitagenet.com/career/52.html