Captain America: The Winter Soldier Blu-ray promo clips

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier comes out on DVD and Blu-ray in September. Marvel has been teasing the extras through a series of clips. Here’s all of them so far in one place.

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Stormy with a chance of horror

The Knick on Cinemax

The Knick on Cinemax

If you’re in Jakarta and you’re looking for something to watch this weekend, and have no idea which movie to choose from, I might be able to help you with that.

First week back to work in the post-Eid holiday, I went to three media screenings. Tuesday was Into The Storm. Wednesday I had Cinemax’s The Knick. Thursday was all about TMNT. (I also finally went ahead and saw Step Up: All In.) Today, Friday, my friends and I went to see Babadook.

Of all these, the first one I would recommend to you would actually be The Knick (see above picture). It’s a TV series, actually, but it was aired in a small cinema so we got to see it in a large screen (which is divine). It’s airing in Indonesia this Saturday, at 9 PM, on Cinemax within 24 hours after its US debut. Despite coming with warnings for triggering issues such as racism and the maximum level of gore, the pilot has great music, is rich in period details and features a wonderful performance by the cast led by Clive Owen and directed by Steven Soderbergh. It is perfect for the stay-at-home-can’t-be-bothered-to-join-the-masses-in-malls type. Television Renaissance, I tell you…

The second best thing I saw at a cinema this week that I would recommend to people would be Into The Storm.

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Everything I said in this reaction post is reason enough to pick this over the rest of this weekend’s releases. Some people are comparing it with Twister (and say that it doesn’t match that old classic – probably because there weren’t enough flying cows in this Steven Quale film) but, well. Twister is not playing in cinemas right now, is it? Disaster films can also be triggering and I imagine people who live in areas in the US that are at risk from such an occurrence might not feel that this is the film for them but the movie itself is relatable, evenly paced and easy to digest.

Here’s also where I confess to something: I almost interviewed Richard Armitage for my article but didn’t.

Into The Storm Article in TFI #57
I ended up getting a generic interview file and worked that out for my piece instead. But I’m still holding out hope that I would get to interview him in person one day. Call me a hopeless optimist but I’ve already interviewed Sarah Wayne Callies (Mr. Armitage’s co-star in Storm)  and Andrew Lincoln (his co-star in Strike Back and her co-star in The Walking Dead), so one day I will. ONE DAY.

On the meantime, I’ll just watch him in the screens.

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Into The Storm: A Reaction

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Consider these my notes for my upcoming review of Into The Storm.

+ This summer season, Warner Bros. has two summer movies that defied my expectations. First they released Edge Of Tomorrow, and now they are releasing Into The Storm. Both of these movies have the advantage of not being connected into any franchise currently running and they are both standalone stories that are not sequel or prequel to anything. They also share another common quality: being absolutely entertaining to me as a moviegoer.

+ I could nitpick and say that Into The Storm has minimal character development and it is riddled with disaster movie cliché (there has to be at least one authority figure who challenges the hero’s attempt to save all of their lives, right?) It also has pacing problems in which the non-tornado moments felt really rushed and end up being inconsequential. But I choose not to nitpick, for reasons I will elaborate below…

+ Because who can nitpick when you have such awesomely disastrous tornado scenes? Disastrous is not even the word. Catastrophic is more like it. For a movie that doesn’t really have a villain, director Steven Quale has successfully made a supervillain out of those tornadoes. Hell hath no fury like Mother Nature scorned. This movie is scary enough to make me paranoid and want to build a bunker and become a survivalist.

+ There’s a heightened sense of danger here, especially because the heroes are not depicted entirely as heroes. Gary and his sons weren’t anything special. Their relationship, especially in the way they annoy each other, was completely relatable. Pete and Allison’s teams ticked another box in the cliché list but I’ve had co-workers who behave and interact with me that way, so – again – this was believable. Whether they were trying to run away or run into the storm, I found them not particularly heroic in the way protagonists are, so they all seemed all the more vulnerable against the imminent disaster.

+ Coming back to Gary and his sons’ interaction, there was this odd moment in the movie where I felt like they were imitating my own life. Gary’s response to his sons in the beginning? Totally my own father’s response to me. That was weird. And also, that was how I knew they pulled it off in being a family.

+ Funnily enough, I didn’t think he could do it. Sue me but I didn’t think Richard Armitage could pull of being an everyman… but he did! I always thought he was built for tall, dark, broody and mysterious characters, but here he was, being so normal and all, almost without standing out. Even Sarah Wayne Callies stood more as the meteorologist than Gary the teacher. It was amazing.

+ Being a TV buff these days, Into The Storm was full of recognizable faces. In fact, it felt at times like the merging of my TV fandoms… Sarah Wayne Callies represented The Walking Dead, Matt Walsh Veep, Jeremy Sumpter Friday Night Lights… there was even that annoying drug addict of a Ballard student from Crisis (Brandon Ruiter; playing yet another jackass in this movie)!

+ The low profile cast helped the story in my opinion. The summer movie blockbusters are always a parade of A-list stars; sometimes there are so much star power in one single movie that you get distracted from the story by their celebrity status. Into The Storm may have been made up of relatively unknown actors in the cast, but they are exactly what the story needed to tell it on screen. It truly is amusing and uplifting how a small budget flick like Into The Storm can pack more finesse and quality in terms of acting compared to the likes of Transformers: Age Of Extinction.

+ Have I ever mentioned how much I hate found footage films? It was okay the first or second time around, but after so many movies used this format, I’ve decided that it is just not for me. I didn’t even like how it was used in Earth To Echo (another summer indie project that I quite admire), but I felt that the format worked for Into The Storm. My fears of the film being visually obnoxious were unfounded because somehow Brian Pearson – the DoP – made the found footage aspect of it work for the story. Plus, THE TORNADOES. Still awesome.

+ I’d mention some of my favorite tornado destruction scenes but that would count as spoilers and I don’t want that.

+ Brian Tyler scored the film. Just thought you ought to know that.

+ In my book, Into The Storm has become an instant disaster movie classic. I’m not into this genre, so maybe I’m not the best person to decide what’s a classic or not, but I can safely say I prefer this film to anything Roland Emmerich has made. The direction lacks the gloss and panache of a big budget studio production but it’s still solid and assured in presentation. It’s still popcorn flick for the summer season, but it also has enough heart and humanity in the story, aside of the awesome spectacles (GIANT TORNADO!), to avoid being a brainless entertainment.

To close this reaction post: this movie received an applause from the guests at my media screening (an official screening held by the studio for members of the press and other guests). That puts it on par with another summer movie WB has released this summer, Godzilla.

Into The Storm is released in Indonesia Wednesday, 6 August 2014.