Tag Archives: Sarah Wayne Callies

He said, She said (Part 2): A Couple’s Take on ‘Into the Storm’

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And we’re back with more about seeing “Into the Storm!” Pardon me if I sort of dart around here, my mind is going in a lot of different directions–but I want to write this while it is fresh in my mind. I did not read any professional critics’ reviews, or really any reviews by fans/bloggers of this film before seeing it this afternoon. I wanted to make up my own mind for myself.

 

 

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The cinematic experience starts off really well for us during our Sunday matinée (WARNING: SHAMELESS PLUG FOR FAMILY BUSINESS COMING UP) when the newest commercial for the local Chevy dealership created by Pecan Ridge Productions, shot and edited by Benny, appears on the screen–with the tagline voice-over done by yours truly.  We hear someone behind us say, “Awww,” at the sight of those cute local kids playing ball and eating hot dogs. A win! 😉

 

Then comes the preview for THTBOFA. There’s Thorin, larger than life and looking very majestic and more than a little crazed. I give spouse the teeniest dig in the ribs. He grunts and gives me a small lop-sided smile.  He’s humoring me. That’s OK.

Once the film starts and the video cameras appear on-screen,  I see spouse’s antennae perking up.  NOW we’re talkin’ . . . No one is sitting very close to us, so we can talk in low tones without being a nuisance.

Me: What kind of cameras are they using?

Him: (squints) Hmmmm, not sure. (suddenly grins like a kid at Christmas and wags his finger at the screen) But hey, that bracket holding the camera on the outside of the vehicle? It’s just like the one I got and put on the Jeep!

I think to myself, Well, he’s already enjoying it more than the Hobbit films. This is good.

[I take note that Richard as Gary looks very much the part of a single dad of teens and assistant principal at a small town high school in the Midwest. The close-cropped hair, wire-rimmed reading glasses, the conservative (and, apparently, cheap) suit and tie for the school’s graduation. That look in his eyes.

Gary has a lot on his mind. You feel as if this big, strapping man carries a burden on his shoulders just from the way he moves at times. A physically strong man, but, perhaps, a soul-weary one?  School duties, the principal riding him, a lack of communication with his two sons . . .  an ordinary (if very attractive) kind of guy living an ordinary life. And if he doesn’t sound exactly like Oklahoma or thereabouts, he sounds–generically American. Especially when I hear his voice and don’t see him. I think it’s a good start for a guy who doesn’t have a lot of experience doing American accents.]

 

Spouse Loves “Jack-Ass” Style Comedy Relief

When the group of good ol’ boys appears on-screen, videoing their own lame-brained drunken exploits, Benny chuckles. We know some folks like these guys–dumb as a box of rocks, but basically harmless and, you know, kind of likeable.  You’re just glad you aren’t actually related to them . . . BTW, did anyone else notice the cameo by Todd Garner in that scene with the swimming pool?

Him: Yeah, these guys are OK. (He clearly hopes to see more of them and, of course, his wish is granted.)

Me: Next thing you know, they’ll be saying, “Hey y’all, look at this!!” Which usually ends badly . . . [talk about dumb luck. Donk and Reevis actually survive!]

And then the storm hits.  Gary starts giving orders to the school kids and trying to maintain calm, all the while anxious to locate his own errant oldest son, Donnie (played with a shy, endearing awkwardness by Max Deacon. I predict we will see more of  handsome, talented Max in future films and TV projects. I like Nathan Kress as Trey, too, but Max really managed to tug at my heartstrings).

 

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Gary on the Way to Save the Day–Hooray!

Soon Gary jumps into the fray and keeps Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies) the pretty meteorologist, from blowing away as they hang on to the vehicle for dear life.

I must say from a purely prurient POV, I approve of soaking wet Gary in action (the thighs! the buns!) although I do not announce this to Benny. I do try to remind myself wet Gary smells like a sheep (according to Sarah).

And I can certainly see why Sarah said this wasn’t a “comfortable” film to make, too. An actor’s life definitely isn’t all red carpets and wrap parties.

Him: (smirks) It’s certainly a good thing this guy’s an SAS soldier.

[Porter is his favorite RA character. He’s seen Thorin, Heinz, Ian from “Ultimate Force” and  some of “The Golden Hour.” So far, nobody beats out the sergeant.]

We both agree the visuals are pretty darned impressive. I’ve seen enough actual footage of tornadoes, not to mention my own experiences and the accounts of friends and family, to say it all looked frighteningly real–both the twisters themselves and the aftermath. And the noise, all that roaring, and the popping of the transformers blowing . . . yep, it worked for me. Kudos to the seven different special effects houses (we always sit through the credits) who worked to finish the film when the original SFX house went bankrupt.

NOT Quite Buying That . . .

What didn’t seem so believable?

Him: Really convenient they had this big airport with all these big planes next to this little town with like, eight people in the graduating class . . . it’s like McKenzie (a tiny town in southern end of county) being located next to the Atlanta Airport!

Me: Uh . . . maybe it’s a regional airport?

Him: (gives me a look that says, “Yeah-RIGHHHT.”)

Me: (shrugs) OK, so maybe not so realistic. What else bothered you?

Him: (drily) Oh, the way the storm was nice enough to pause and take breaks and like, knit a sweater and give them a chance to get all those kids on buses and out of harm’s way, and then to get the manhole cover open and get into the storm drain, and for the guy to get the storm vehicle and hold the grate in place . . . (grins) of course, if it had all happened in real-time, the movie would have been over in 15 minutes!

 

 

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Me: (Nods) Yep, gotta take some dramatic license here and there. What did you think of Richard’s accent?

Him: Well–he didn’t really sound like Oklahoma to me–but I’ve heard a lot worse. Definitely.

Me: I thought the performances all around were good.  I enjoyed it.

Him: I have to say–it was better than pretty much anything I’ve ever seen on the SyFy Channel (spouse is a devotee of said channel).

Me: I suspect it had a slightly higher budget than anything on SyFy.

Him: Better actors, too.

Me: We agree we didn’t miss it not being in 3D?

Him: Oh, yeah, we’ve seen–what? Five or six 3-D films now, big budget ones, and none of them have made us go, Wow, because of the effects? I think I must really be a 2-D kind of guy.

Me: (sighs) It was so–nice—to see Richard in a movie in which his character LIVES! He gets a happy ending for a change! And he’s a hero!

Him: Maybe they can make a sequel. He gets married to Allison and they become storm chasers. Or it’s 25 years in the future, the kids are storm chasers . . .

Me: And HE’S really old . . . and goes off and gets into trouble and the boys go to save him but he saves THEM.

Hey, it could happen.

 Thoughts:

So, I am not quite sure why this movie is getting such negative reviews. Is it perfect? No. Are there some clichés and stereotypes? Yes. Do I see it as “weather porn,” as one critic termed it? No, I don’t. Mother Nature can be one fierce creature, and she seems to be getting more and more so with each passing year. I am glad the film made reference to the numerous extreme meteorological events we’ve seen in recent years just in our own country alone, never mind the world. What exactly were critics expecting from this found footage disaster film–and why?

I very much like that this movie did not have a single superhero endowed with special powers. Although I also enjoy those types of films, I think we need to see “regular people” get their inner hero on, too.

Gary was the ordinary guy forced by extraordinary circumstances to step up and lead in a crisis, to not give up on his students or his sons. Call me a sentimental old sap–I will not argue the point with you–but it was so good to see post-storm Gary standing there smiling, his arms around those two boys. Rebuilding–houses or relationships–is never an easy task, but you feel as if the Morris family and their community have what it takes to make it happen.

And I have seen that happen in my own county, after natural disasters, neighbors helping neighbors, and also local citizens reaching out to refugees from Katrina and other storms, offering them shelter, food, clothing, even jobs and homes. There is still goodness in people.

So yes, we give Into the Storm two thumbs up–it’s entertaining, humorous and even touching in spots, and ultimately, really uplifting. The resilience of the human spirit shines . . . and yes, Serv, you were right. I walked out of that theatre into the sunshine–and smiled.

 

 

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He said, She said: A Couple’s Take on ‘Into the Storm’ (Part 1)

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This afternoon Mr. Videographer and General Flunky (AKA Benny and I) headed into town to catch the matinee showing of “Into the Storm” at the local multiplex, The Edge. We settled into the comfy rocking chair seats with a scattering of fellow audience members, and prepared to see Richard Armitage and some CGI tornadic activity unlike anything we’ve ever seen before–and hopefully, will never see in real life.

 

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First, a little background on our own real-life atmospheric experiences.

Been There, Done That.

Benny and I have been through quite a variety of scary weather systems in our half-century plus here on earth–a huge blizzard with white-out conditions in South Dakota, not to mention hailstones large enough to break windows and kill outside animals; dangerous ice storms in various parts of the Midwest, more hurricanes than I care to think about right here in south Alabama (don’t believe in climate change? Let me show you where a barn and many trees used to stand on my parents’ farm, two-and-a-half hours inland, where hurricanes once left us with nothing more than some heavy rain and a few fallen tree branches. Oh yeah, boys and girls, it’s real).

As a young child, I remember the family driving to a neighboring county that had been hit hard by a tornado. There were houses missing roofs and outer walls, yet in some rooms, the furniture remained perfectly intact. I saw bicycles, twisted and tossed on the tops of some of the buildings left standing, cars flipped and folded and yes, flimsy blades of straw driven into the trunks of ancient oaks. One home might be a complete shambles, nothing left but a mass of rubble, while a house 20 yards away was completely untouched.

I think, other than normal human curiosity, our parents wanted us to see all that destruction in person as a lesson. tornadoes were nothing to fool around with. You had to move fast and be smart. Even then, there were no guarantees . . .

Looking at all the devastation, you felt awful for the people who went through all this. And at the same time, you couldn’t resist breathing a sigh of relief it hadn’t happened to you and your loved ones.

Traditionally, tornadoes have tended to follow similar paths over the years. Our stompin’ grounds have, thankfully, never been in one of those paths, while some communities have been hit multiple times (But who’s to say new paths won’t develop? Mother Nature can be both cruel and fickle).

Too Close for Comfort

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Yes, we got a pretty good snow while I lived in Talladega, too. Some of the students got to experience it for the first time. Helen Keller, who visited the school’s fragrance garden in her later years, is celebrated with this statue of young Helen at the water pump.

I had my “up close and personal” moment with a tornado thirty years ago.  I was teaching arts & crafts and creative and performing arts classes at the Alabama School for the Blind in Talladega. One rather grey morning, I got a call from the school’s main office during my planning period.

“Angie, you and Mr. W, get to the main building–NOW. A tornado is coming.”

I grabbed my hooded rain slicker from my office in the converted dormitory building and hurried as fast as I could down the stairs, out the front door and across the sidewalk. Fat raindrops thumped against us as the sky darkened ominously. Mr. W (the shop teacher) and I got into ASB’s front hall only moments before the storm hit. The winds picked up tremendous speed and a roar, not unlike a freight train coming right down South Street.

Talk about the nick of time . . .

I remember glancing up and out through a window and see things flying by–what they were, I couldn’t say. It was all one gigantic blur. The students, crouching in the approved position, were quite calm. It was some of the sighted teachers who were verging on nervous wrecks. As for me, I was praying silently that no one would get hurt, and that my second floor apartment in an old Victorian just two blocks down the street would still be there when all this passed over.

There were, thank goodness, no serious injuries. A small portion  of the School for the Deaf’s main building’s roof was partially blown off, with majestic old shade trees completely uprooted, sidewalks buckled, and some homes and vehicles badly damaged in parts of this town of 20,000.  And my quaint little apartment? Still intact, albeit lacking power for several days after a main transformer blew close to the house’s backyard.

It lasted only a short time, and yet it seemed to last forever, that storm. It was bad enough, but it could have been so much worse. And I decided then and there I never wanted to be that close to another tornado again.  Storm chasing? Phooey. Storm avoiding is the life for me.

And then I find out Richard Armitage, my favorite actor, is making a film about tornado chasers . . . wasn’t too sure how I felt about it all at first. As a viewer, I worried that “found footage” might translate into lots of shaky hand-held camera shots that would just irritate me and give me a headache.  As a devoted fan, I worried that RA, whose characters’ recent track records for survival fell into the lackluster category might end up playing another doomed hero *sniff*

As a person who knows what survivor’s grief is all about, I was concerned that seeing this unfold on film would bring back too many painful memories of Tuscaloosa and Enterprise and Joplin, of the tornado in my sisters’ former hometown of Huntsville, where her co-worker died from injuries sustained when a tornado struck her apartment building.  Of the Birmingham tornadoes that so narrowly missed my oldest sister and her boy. Memories of all those who didn’t make it.

And, frankly, as a wife whose husband has sat through two long Tolkien films featuring Armitage only to please his spouse and not because he particularly enjoyed the genre, I didn’t want to sit through a movie worrying about how bored said spouse was.

 

 

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An image from Tuscaloosa after the city was struck by a tornado. In one of the ITS interviews, Sarah Wayne Callies recalls driving through the town on her way back to Georgia to shoot more of The Walking Dead. I found myself very depressed in the days and weeks that followed, and often broke into tears watching the images on TV/reading about it.  And all those from our area who traveled to Tuscaloosa to help with the cleanup said it was much worse in person–as if a nuclear bomb had gone off.

 

 

But you know what? I shouldn’t have worried.  “Into the Storm” gets the Mr. Videographer and Fedoralady’s Seal of Approval! More on our thoughts about and reactions to the film in our next installment (yes, the mister will have his say).

 

 

Having fun playing with ridiculously good-looking people. :D

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Those of you who have followed this blog for any length of time whatsoever know Girlfriend loves photo editing.

So, naturally, when the latest crop of RA photos from Cinema Con in Las Vegas came to my attention, I needed to play. And here are some of the fruits of my happy labor! I hope you will enjoy . . . and now, I think I’m going to veg out & take a nap (I lead *such* a wild life).

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ICYMI: New article with Sarah Wayne Callies re “Into the Storm”

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Courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures via USA Today

Courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures via USA Today

Sounds like lots of thrills and squeals–as in us squealing over the heroic dad in the sort-of-wet shirt. I can only think being in the above position with RA, even with the wind machines and water,  has got to be a lot more enjoyable than being feasted upon by actors made up as zombies. Just sayin’ . . .  and if anybody dies in this movie, sorry, Sarah, but better you than RA.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2014/03/24/into-the-storm-first-look-sarah-wayne-callies/6302265/

 

intothestorm2Courtesy of Warner Brother Pictures via USA Today