Into the Storm, viewings 3 and 4, bullet points

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***

Went to the theater today to watch the film two more times (cheap day, $5 per showing — sorry, bad for gross receipts but I’ve never understood why movie results are counted that way anyway), once in a larger room with the same sized screen as before, once in a much larger room with the Ultra Screen (about 3 stories high, according to their ads). First time, the theater was half full; second time, in much larger room, theater was a third to a half full.

  • Both of these audiences found the movie a lot funnier than the people I watched with last Thursday. The second audience really laughed almost all the way through.
  • They were also, on the whole, a lot older than the people I watched with the last two times and noticeably older than me. I hadn’t thought of senior citizens as a target audience for this kind of movie, but if you consider that there’s no sex in the piece, it is indeed the kind of thing my mom would have watched. Although there is blasphemy.
  • Again, lots of gasps, curses, and remarks from the audience throughout the film. The guy next to me said “what a rush” when Pete’s screen went dead.
  • It’s definitely worth seeing in the largest format you can see it in. The tornadoes are noticeably more violent on the larger screen without significantly increasing any queasiness in the viewer from their more jarring motion. Also, I’m not getting bored with watching them, which surprises me a little.
  • Steven Quale had said that he picked the VFX companies to do different parts of the film based on the personalities of the tornadoes, which I thought was nonsense when I read it, but in the larger format, I kind of saw what he meant. There are thin, elegant, scalpel-like tornadoes and huge, bullish, broad-shouldered tornadoes. I suspect that I would have to watch the movie several more times at least to understand fully what he meant but maybe I will do that now.
  • There are least ten really excellent Richard Armitage thumb shots in this film — which I would not have seen so clearly without the larger format. And one nice MCP shot as well.
  • I appreciated Matt Walsh a lot more this time; Sarah Wayne Callies, significantly less, and if I keep watching the move, she is going to start grating on me. To be fair, the script gives her most of the worst, most clichéd lines.
  • The script does not improve or become any more sophisticated on repeated watching.
  • Alycia Debnam-Carey moves her lips in really evocative ways.
  • I also think I discovered a scene with Gary walking around in the background — it’s the second time capsule with Chester — and Gary is wearing that greenish/gray shirt and walking around in the rubbish in the upper right hand corner of the screen, I think.
  • I have concluded after seeing this that Brits simply do not point with their index fingers. It’s noticeable in both Spooks and Strike Back in different places, and you can see both Armitage and Max Deacon gesturing with their hands in situations where an American would point. That’s an arcane social rule from the 1950s here (“don’t point, honey, it’s rude”) — I wonder what the status of that gesture is in the UK?
  • What struck me most this time was how the sound affected my perception of Armitage’s accent; that is, this time I distinctly heard the midwestern very long “o,” as when he says “sorry,” but his short “o” (when he says “Donnie,” for instance) was more toward short “a” (so he sounded like he was saying “Danny.”) In any case, I’ve noticed different things about his vowels each time I’ve seen it, and so the resonance of the room must be affecting my perception.
  • Now that I’m not watching the effects or trying to conceptually filter out the rain in the frame every spare second to figure out what I am really seeing, I did have more time to focus on Armitage’s face. Looking, as always, for the micro-expressions. I saw one or two last week and I saw a few more this time — despite what some critics have been saying about his stodginess, they are still there, but they are seriously slowed down. I wonder if this was a choice, or if it was the result of The Hobbit (his remark to Sarah, referenced by her, about how he wanted input b/c he’d been acting under prosthetics for years), or a bit of both?
  • I also had more time to think about Gary’s stolidity in the first half of the film this time around — tempered by the absolute possessed, terrier-like quality of his absorption in finding Donnie — and then ending with a much more relaxed, happier Gary at the end of the film. Gary looks years and years younger in that final scene. There is a real character progression here; we’re just too occupied with all of the debris flying through the air to think about it.
  • Pursuant to that, it’s true that there’s a sense in which he’s playing “heavier” (for lack of a more precise word) than the other actors, but I do think that is not so much an error of art and it’s supposed to be Gary. I was thinking of the late Mr. McLeod, our assistant principal in high school, and he very much put on this sort of a persona (the ass’t principal in a US high school is usually responsible for student discipline / handing out punishments). So two subpoints — would we see the character development more clearly (and thus be potentially less bothered by Armitage’s acting in the first third of the film, for those who are) — without all the effects, i.e., is there really more of a character there than we can immediately notice upon a first viewing of the film? And second — is this a sort of American type that Armitage is playing based on very limited observation of it, and might he do it differently after two years in the U.S. (as he said he changed some of his accent / voice in ADR)?

I’ll probably see it at least one more time. Can’t wait for clean vid, though, to see those thumb shots!

In between showings I snuck for about ten minutes into a room that was showing Guardians of the Galaxy, also in Ultra Screen. Somehow after all these months of seeing photos of Lee Pace I missed that he has purple irises. Man — that is impressive. As is the voice. I have to get to see this soon.

~ by Servetus on August 13, 2014.

10 Responses to “Into the Storm, viewings 3 and 4, bullet points”

  1. Thanks, I enjoy your detailed comments. It amazes me how much you retain and can discuss intelligently. If the reviewers had half the capability you have they would have written much better reviews (IMO.)

    I saw ITS a second time yesterday and Sarah Wayne Callies annoyed me. She did get some horrible lines and her “science” is almost non existent. I focused on RA most of the time he was on the screen and I saw facial expressions that I’m sure I missed the first time. The sound bothered me more the second time (I can be easily stressed.)

    I can’t wait for clean video either. There will be some excellent screen shots!

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    • I think there’s a lot of incentive not to look at Armitage in this film, which is strange. You’d think the moviemaker would have copped to what people like about him …

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  2. Re: accent. There’s one part towards the end where he yells something out and seems to drop the accent entirely. I can’t remember the exact part, only that they’re fairly close to a tornado and there’s a lot of wind sounds (so it’s not really that noticeable.) I think some of the issues with the accent might have to do with him filming that in an area that uses a different dialect than the area where the film was set. He was likely trying to speak one accent, but hearing another each day probably got a bit confusing for him. 😦

    I do think RA pulled off the asst. principal character quite well, though. I had a teacher friend who became one, and he tended to be very stern and serious once he got the job (before that, he was much more like RA at the end, and more apt to let the rules slide on occasion.) Afterwards… woo boy. Rules are rules, etc.

    I still think I would’ve liked it more had there been more focus on RA’s character and the sons, and less on the storm chasers, daredevils and townspeople (they came across as completely superfluous to me. 😦 )

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    • TBH, I don’t really hear any Oklahoma at all in his speech. He sounds like an Upper Midwesterner to me. I don’t know that that is a huge problem in that Silverton is obviously an upper middle class sort of place, so there won’t be tons of people who are speaking 100 % unmoderated Oklahoma. I assume the only reason they put that film where they did (it doesn’t look all that much like OK, either) was because OK is in tornado alley.

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      • True. I have a difficult time picking up on Oklahoma accents (probably too many similarities with my own,) but RA’s did stick out a bit for me. Thing is, we really don’t know the background of the character. Gary could’ve been an upper midwesterner transplanted to Oklahoma; hence, the difference in accent.

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  3. I just watched for the third time – still can’t spot the cow! I do see a bull pinata though. I think I hear mooing the first time the chasers stop ti film a funnel cloud. That’s definately background Armitage a door or two down from Chester and his dog doing some cleaning up! You can see the pink bike that goes into the side of a car in the background of the screen in the Fuller Driveway the morning of June 16th too. I agree the theater sound system makes a big difference. This viewing was at an AMC EFX screen which is supposed to be Dolby Atmos. However I thought the sound was better the first time I watched at IconShowplace. Each time I’ve sat further and further back seems like I was more immersed sitting closer to the front. I know I’ll have to see this a 4th time – back where I first viewed it – to validate some points.

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  4. I’ve only seen the movie once but I did see layers to Gary. maybe that’s b/c he resonated with me, having a teenager and living in the suburban Midwest? I don’t know, but I did see a clear progression. so many have been saying that his character is one-dimensional, but I just didn’t see it that way. yes, there is a lot of limbo in the middle of the piece, as the elements take center stage, but seeing how Gary reacts to those situations (and Trey seeing how his Dad reacts to those situations) is part of the character development. surprisingly I enjoyed the tornadoes too, they felt like characters to me, the large wide one being the most menacing!

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    • yeah, I think the piece is not structured especially well dramatically if seen from the viewpoint of the Gary character. At some point it really starts being all about the storms. Which is okay. I am starting to actually be interested in the tornadoes.

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  5. […] Musings after viewing 5 this afternoon, after my initial review based on two viewings, and further remarks for next two viewings. […]

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