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Best Actor (and Person) + Generous Fandom + Super Cause = RA Birthday Cybersmile Fundraising Triumph!

He's so modest, he'll never admit he was the on-going inspiration, but we all know he was!

He’s so modest, he’ll never admit he was the absent, but ever-present  inspiration, but we all know he was!

On the heels of a massive, collaborative social media fundraising campaign – to honor RA’s birthday – The Man Himself took to Twitter with personal thanks. RA, I think may I say, the pleasure was ours!

<HUGE, THRILLED GRIN> And drumroooollllllllllll, please!

The Cybersmile Foundation fundraising total at just after 8 PM US Eastern time: a GARGANTUAN… waaaait for it:
*   £10,142
*  
(which is $15,908 US)
*   raised by 448 donations!

So we not only exceeded the £10,000 Dream Goal, but also the 444 donations (to mark RA’s 44th birthday)! And, still, people are giving.

With all my heart, I believe RA’s ‘troops’ are the best fandom/Army any actor could imagine, and the most fabulous community of people to have as pals! At your core, you have kind and generous hearts, and when RA asks for your help – and he rarely does – you step forward and volunteer like the loyal, devoted, compassionate, unselfish people who are this fandom. Even fans like Jade – who wrote that she’s on the brink of homelessness – and others on fixed incomes and tight, tight budgets, contributed. All of you are sensational!

Cut to the chase… RA!

With apologies to Joshua Horowitz, who did a “Happy, Sad, Confused” photo with the Hannibal gang at Comic Con, I hope THIS was RA’s face HAPPY face today when he heard the news:

RA's HAPPY face for MTV's Joshua Horowitz's Happy, Sad, Confused Collection. Taken at ComicCon15

RA’s HAPPY face for MTV’s Joshua Horowitz’s “Happy, Sad, Confused” Photo Collection.
~ Taken at ComicCon15

(And maybe he’ll give us a Thrilled-Beyond-Words selfie later!)

This, I think, is a great moment for the RArmy… and you insubordinate fans who gave generously, but won’t call yourselves part of the Army <heh> (And yes, I’m talking about you, Yvonne Lustenberger, m’dear Twitter pal!)

So we did it, troops! Raise a glass of pinot noir, vodka, a Red Dragon Tini, your favorite tipple, or just grab a bowl of chocolate ice-cream. You all deserve it.

I file this post with great affection for you all, and am proud to be a part of this community more than I can express.

Cheers, Marcia

You may also follow Richard Armitage US
on FacebookTwitter and Tumblr.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RA! We Cherish You, Each Other & Want to Help Make the Web A Kinder Place!

It's your BIRTHAY, RA!

It’s your BIRTHDAY, RA! August 22 at last!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RA!

But we all know – that to you – your birthday is much more than chocolate ice cream and loads of cupcakes: your birthday is an opportunity for your “well-wishers” – aka the RArmy – to demonstrate how much we care. And this year, on the anniversary of your debut on Twitter, your cause is making the web a kinder place.

In a post on Weibo, RA said: “Let us in the online world, cherish each other, care about each other.”

RA on Weibo: "Let us in the online world, cherish each other, care about each other." Referencing Cybersmile? Yes, I think that's clear. Support them here: https://www.justgiving.com/richard-armitage17/

RA on Weibo: “Let us in the online world, cherish each other, care about each other.”
Referencing Cybersmile? Yes, I think that’s clear. Support them here:
https://www.justgiving.com/richard-armitage17/

That’s right, this year, The RA Birthday Cause is The Cybersmile Foundation, the anti-cyberbullying charity, working to put an end to cyberbullying, help its victims, and create positive attitudes and interactions and make the web a kinder place!

To add your support. visit Cybersmile on JustGiving here: https://www.justgiving.com/richard-armitage17/

To add your support. visit Cybersmile on JustGiving here: https://www.justgiving.com/richard-armitage17/

Since RA announced this birthday initiative, the RArmy has stormed the Cybersmile JustGiving website and has done so with kind, generous hearts (and open wallets!): TODAY – just after 5 PM US Eastern Time – RA’s troops have given £7,880 ($12,367 US) from 348 donors!

And it’s HOURS until Midnight of August 22! If you haven’t yet, again, here’s the link to donate.

Please, everyone, let’s do what we can to celebrate RA’s birthday
in a way that will make a difference to
thousands of people who need a hand.

If you’re feeling especially generous, all the organizations RA supports do incredible work with few resources. To also lend a helping hand to RA’s other causes, go to JustGiving for the rest of his listYoungMinds, Anthony Nolan,  Childline, Shelter, Barbado’s, and The Salvation Army, and give as generously as you can afford.

If you already know which cause you want to support, here are direct links to all:

Happy Birthday, RA!
We hope you spend it with those you love most and make you laugh loudest,
and that your celebration lasts alllll yeeeeear loooooong!

You may also follow Richard Armitage US
on FacebookTwitter and Tumblr.

Wish RA ‘Happy Birthday’: Support Cybersmile and Help End Cyberbullying!

Cybersmile: RA is the anti-cyberbullying organization's Official Ambassador!

Cybersmile: RA is the anti-cyberbullying organization ‘s Official Ambassador!

Richard Crispin Armitage couldn’t make his birthday wishes to us clearer than his two tweets today, and – through implication – his post on Weibo.

THIS year, we can let him know that we wish him a very Happy Birthday (which rolls around Saturday, August 22), by supporting the one cause upon which he has focused in these posts: Cybersmile!

The full link is https://www.justgiving.com/richard-armitage17/ to wish RA a happy birthday by donating to Cybersmile!

The full link is https://www.justgiving.com/richard-armitage17/
Wish RA a happy birthday by donating to Cybersmile!

(Sorry, I HAVE to add the “cupcake thing,” for nostalgia, if for no other reason. RA joined Twitter on his birthday last year and this shot was his very first tweet.. So RA: completely unexpected and adorable!)

On August 22, 2014, RA made his Twitter debut on his birthday. This shot was the tweet aka

On August 22, 2014, RA made his Twitter debut on his birthday. This shot was the tweet, or as RA called it: “the cupcake thing.”

And if you’re wondering about how he recommends we express our birthday wishes, via donating to Cybersmile, here’s his second tweet:

Multiples of 4! Got it? Easy! Not easy enough? Here's the direct link: https://www.justgiving.com/richard-armitage17/

Multiples of 4! Got it? Easy! Not easy enough? Here’s the direct link:
https://www.justgiving.com/richard-armitage17/

What’s more, there’s an RA WEIBO POST: “Let us in the online world, cherish each other, care about each other.”
Sounds like a clear Cybersmile reference, to me. Doesn’t it to you?

RA on Weibo: Referecing Cybersmile? Yeah, I think so. Support thm here : https://www.justgiving.com/richard-armitage17/

RA on Weibo: Referencing Cybersmile? Yes, I think so. Support RA and Cybersmile here:
https://www.justgiving.com/richard-armitage17/

Please, everyone, let’s do what we can to celebrate RA’s birthday in a way that will
make a difference to thousands of people who need a hand.
All the organizations RA supports do incredible work with few resources, like Cybersmile, whose RA page is here.

To also lend a helping hand to RA’s other causes, go to JustGiving for the rest of his list:
YoungMinds, Anthony Nolan, Shelter, Childline, Barbado’s, and
The Salvation Army, and give as generously as you can afford. 

If you already know which cause you want to support, here are direct links to all:

Oh, and Happy Birthday, RA!
We hope you spend it with those you love most and make you laugh loudest,
and that your celebration lasts alllll yeeeeear loooooong!

You may also follow Richard Armitage US
on FacebookTwitter and Tumblr.

Wish RA a Happy Birthday & Change Lives at the Same Time!

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, on Sunday, August 22, Richard Crispin Armitage made his world debut.

Last year, on his birthday – Friday, August 22 – Richard Crispin Armitage (aka @RCArmitage) made his Twitter debut, and the photo above was his first tweet.

What a whirlwind of a year it’s been!  And now it’s birthday time again!

RA’s birthday is coming up this Saturday, August 22.

Unlike last year when he was in The Crucible at the Old Vic, this year we won’t know where he’ll be on his birthday. So for this time around – like many times before – some will probably send special gifts or greetings to the offices of his representatives; some will also send birthday greetings on Twitter; and some – including many from both categories above – will also choose to wish RA a happy birthday by supporting one of his chosen charities. RA has made it clear that he appreciates his “well-wishers”/followers/admirers/fans/Army supporting his causes.

RA supports a number of organizations doing remarkable, much-needed good work. For his list, go to JustGiving, and – because it hadn’t been added to RA’s JustGiving page at this writing – you can also give directly to his latest cause, CyberSmile, through its JustGiving page (All individual groups’ JustGiving links are also below.)

Give as generously as you can afford. We know these causes mean much to RA, and – who knows? – he might even prefer that we spend our money there, rather than on snazzy fluorescent socks or tubs chocolate ice cream.

Classic Sassy Sox Tour shot. And you know, RA says the only thing he

Classic Sassy Sox Tour shot. And remember, RA admitted that the only thing he “stole” from the Hobbit set was socks! #CriminalMastermind

RA and ice cream: a true love affair! Photo by Sarah Dunn.

RA and ice cream: a true, life-long love affair!  Photo by Sarah Dunn.

Though he does look good with – and in – a sports car….

Image courtesy of Richard Armitage Net.

…we can’t afford to give him a sports car. But we can afford a little help for his friends…

Please, everyone, let’s do what we can to celebrate RA’s birthday in a way that will
make a difference to thousands of people who need a hand.
The organizations RA supports do incredible work with few resources.
Go to JustGiving for his listShelter, YoungMinds,
Childline, Anthony NolanBarbado’s,
CyberSmile and The Salvation Army – and give as generously as you can afford. 

If you already know which cause you want to support, here are direct links to all:

Oh, and Happy Birthday, RA!
We hope you spend it with those you love most and make you laugh loudest,
and that your celebration lasts alllll yeeeeear loooooong!

You may also follow Richard Armitage US
on FacebookTwitter and Tumblr.

What he says…

Thanks to RA for the kind spirit and to Richard Armitage Quotes on Facebook for capturing it in this image.

Thanks to RA for  his kind spirit, and to Richard Armitage Quotes on Facebook for capturing these words in this image.

 

Where’s the Holiday *and* RA Love? RIGHT HERE! Share!

Good, old-fashioned Suthrn neck-hugs to each and every one of you this holiday season!

Good, old-fashioned Suthrn neck-hugs to each and every one of you this holiday season!

To many of us, this time of year  can sometimes be rough. You get stressed, there are all these pressures: family gatherings, gifting, celebrations, parties… so many demands. The next thing you know, you’re grumpy! (Even good old RA US!) I’ve been frank about my struggle with depression, and this time of year could be, well, difficult. But I know that I have my own community, a community that embraces not only me, but also you – and others – as well: the Richard Armitage community!

Like the man himself, I believe our community epitomizes the spirit of this season, which is all about love, inclusion, hope, promises kept and kindness. When I look at the Richard Armitage fandom, I know I’m truly blessed to have you guys in my life. AND we are all blessed to have each other. (And RA, too, o’course. After all, we are a community because of his professional artistry and personal integrity and spirit!)

Share the love!

Share the love!

SHARE OUR VALUES OF LOVE,
INCLUSION AND KINDNESS!

RA supports a number of charities doing superb,
much-needed good work.
Go to JustGiving for a list of them all,
and please give as generously as you can afford.

Open your heart: love, live and enjoy!

And special thanks to Marlise Boland and The Anglophile Channel –
@AnglophileTV on Twitter, on Facebook and OH!
those interviews on the YouTube Channel –
for the great RA images in this blog entry!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE! 

And very best wishes for a happy and *playful* 2015!

And very best wishes for a happy and *playful* 2015!

You may also follow Richard Armitage US
on FacebookTwitter and Tumblr.

Sometimes His Beauty Hides his Playful Nature… But Not Always

Beautiful candid RA in Paris...

Beautiful candid RA in Paris working the eyebrow… Is There Mischief in Those Eyes?

RA's Official Shot for Paris Premiere...

RA’s Official Shot for Paris Premiere…

RA is ready to begin his Twitter Q&A...En français, je vous remercie beaucoup!

RA is ready to begin his Twitter Q&A…En français, je vous remercie beaucoup!

Showing off his Sassy Socks of the day on the RA International Sartorial Socks Adventure...

Showing off his Sassy Socks of the day on the RA International Sartorial Socks Adventure…

Selfie King!  Et donc, il complète le Q & A Français!

Selfie King!
Et donc, il complète le Q & A Français!

But what toll do these appearances take on our guys: RA, Sir Peter and Martin???

But what toll do these appearances take on our guys: RA, Sir Peter and Martin??? 🙂

You may also follow Richard Armitage US
on FacebookTwitter and Tumblr.

 

 

 

Beginning This Friday, Nov. 14: #NS10 – Series Fans Will Celebrate The 10th Anniversary of North & South’s Premiere!

Don't be left out in the cold!  Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of North & South, Beginning Friday, November 14!

Don’t be left out in the cold!
Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of North & South, Beginning Friday, November 14!

CELEBRATE THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF NORTH & SOUTH WITH ALL THE FANS OF THE SERIES!
The weekend of Nov. 14 marks the 10th anniversary of the BBC series North & South, and we are planning a fan-based, online GLOBAL celebration.

The celebration is designed to include fans of the entire cast: Richard Armitage,  Daniela Denby-Ashe, Brendan Coyle, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sinéad Cusack, Lesley Manville, Anna Maxwell Martin, Jo Joyner, Pauline Quirke, Brian Protheroe, Rupert Evans, John Light, William Houston, and all others involved (even that slimy eel Slickson)!

We’re keeping it flexible and simple:

  1. Beginning the weekend of Friday, November 14 through Sunday, November 16, watch N&S. (Because the series originally ran through December 5, we’ll continue the celebration through the weekend of  Dec. 5, 2014.)
  2. While you watch, take a selfie. (And shy people: if you, like me, aren’t comfortable with a selfie that includes your face, you can still celebrate with us. My selfie, for example, will probably going to be of  my legs stretched out on the coffee table in front of the TV!). Have fun, be creative… but keep it clean!
  3. Post your photo on Twitter, your Facebook page, Tumblr, on the NS10 Facebook site (link below)… everywhere using the ‪#‎NS10‬ (withnospaces) hashtag*!
  4. Important note: When you post your selfie with the #NS10 hashtag, include your location to demonstrate the global appeal of North & South, and the actor(s) you follow to demonstrate the series’ lasting impact. 

*The #NS10 hashtag will help us compile all of these into one place, either on the special N&S FB page (link below) or on a blog.

SO:

  1. Watch N&S between Nov. 14 and Dec. 7.
  2. Take a selfie.
  3. Post your selfie with the #NS10 hashtag EVERYWHERE you use social media!
  4. On your post, include where you live and which characters/actors you like.

And that’s it!

So get ready to make a good, strong pot of stew; sit back; and enjoy the series that has entranced so many for 10 years with Margaret and Mr. Thornton, Higgins and Bessy, Fanny and Hannah, Mr and Mrs. Hale and Dixon… the entire marvelous cast!

Brendan Coyle (Nicholas Higgins) with Richard Armitage (John Thornton) in North & South. (Premiere date: November 14, 2004.)

Brendan Coyle (Nicholas Higgins) with Richard Armitage (John Thornton) in North & South. (Premiere date: November 14, 2004.)

 

Questions, concerns, ideas????
CONTACTS:
The Facebook page: http://bit.ly/NS10th
Twitter: NS10 @NandS10th
Email: ns10thanniversary at gmail.com

And to round things out, let’s take a look at some of the actors/characters that brought this series to life (billing per IMDb):

Daniela Denby-Ashe  as Margaret Hale

Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret Hale

 

Richard Armitage as  John Thornton

Richard Armitage as  John Thornton

Tim Pigott-Smith as  Richard Hale

Tim Pigott-Smith as Richard Hale

Sinéad Cusack as  Hannah Thornton

Sinéad Cusack as  Hannah Thornton

Brendan Coyle as Nicholas Higgins

Brendan Coyle as Nicholas Higgins

 

Anna Maxwell Martin as Bessy Higgins

Anna Maxwell Martin as Bessy Higgins

Lesley Manville as Maria Hale

Lesley Manville as Maria Hale

Jo Joyner as Fanny Thornton

Jo Joyner as Fanny Thornton

Pauline Quirke as Dixon

Pauline Quirke as Dixon

Brian Protheroe as Mr. Bell

Brian Protheroe as Mr. Bell

Rupert Evans as Frederick Hale

Rupert Evans as Frederick Hale

John Light as Henry Lennox

John Light as Henry Lennox

William Houston as John Boucher

William Houston as John Boucher

Mr. Thornton and Margaret...

Mr. Thornton and Margaret…

 #NS10!

Beginning Friday, Nov. 14: #NS10 – Series Fans Will Celebrate The 10th Anniversary of North & South’s Premiere!

Don't be left out in the cold!  Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of North & South, Beginning Friday, November 14!

Don’t be left out in the cold!
Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of North & South, Beginning Friday, November 14!

CELEBRATE THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF NORTH & SOUTH WITH ALL THE FANS OF THE SERIES!
The weekend of Nov. 14 marks the 10th anniversary of the BBC series North & South, and we are planning a fan-based, online GLOBAL celebration.

The celebration is designed to include fans of the entire cast: Richard Armitage,  Daniela Denby-Ashe, Brendan Coyle, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sinéad Cusack, Lesley Manville, Anna Maxwell Martin, Jo Joyner, Pauline Quirke, Brian Protheroe, Rupert Evans, John Light, William Houston, and all others involved (even that slimy eel Slickson)!

We’re keeping it flexible and simple:

  1. Beginning the weekend of Friday, November 14 through Sunday, November 16, watch N&S. (Because the series originally ran through December 5, we’ll continue the celebration through the weekend of  Dec. 5, 2014.)
  2. While you watch, take a selfie: you and your favorite scene or character, maybe? Be creative and have fun (but keep it clean, please)! (Thanks to Tara Jarrett for the terrific “Selfie-While-Watching” idea!) And shy people: if you, like me, aren’t comfortable with a selfie that includes your face, you can still celebrate with us. My selfie, for example, will probably going to be of  my legs stretched out on the coffee table in front of the TV!).
  3. Post your photo on Twitter, your Facebook page, Tumblr, on the NS10 Facebook site (link below)… everywhere using the ‪#‎NS10‬ (withnospaces) hashtag*!
  4. Important note: When you post your selfie with the #NS10 hashtag, include your location to demonstrate the global appeal of North & South, and the actor(s) you follow to demonstrate the series’ lasting impact. 

*The #NS10 hashtag will help us compile all of these into one place, either on the special N&S FB page (link below) or on a blog.

And that’s it!

So get ready to make a good, strong pot of stew; sit back; and enjoy the series that has entranced so many for 10 years with Margaret and Mr. Thornton, Higgins and Bessy, Fanny and Hannah, Mr and Mrs. Hale and Dixon… the entire marvelous cast!

Brendan Coyle (Nicholas Higgins) with Richard Armitage (John Thornton) in North & South. (Premiere date: November 14, 2004.)

Brendan Coyle (Nicholas Higgins) with Richard Armitage (John Thornton) in North & South. (Premiere date: November 14, 2004.)

Questions, concerns, ideas????
CONTACTS:
The Facebook page: http://bit.ly/NS10th
Twitter: NS10 @NandS10th
Email: ns10thanniversary at gmail.com

And to round things out, let’s take a look at some of the actors/characters that brought this series to life (billing per IMDb):

Daniela Denby-Ashe  as Margaret Hale

Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret Hale

Richard Armitage as  John Thornton

Richard Armitage as  John Thornton

Tim Pigott-Smith as  Richard Hale

Tim Pigott-Smith as Richard Hale

Sinéad Cusack as  Hannah Thornton

Sinéad Cusack as  Hannah Thornton

Brendan Coyle as Nicholas Higgins

Brendan Coyle as Nicholas Higgins

Anna Maxwell Martin as Bessy Higgins

Anna Maxwell Martin as Bessy Higgins

Lesley Manville as Maria Hale

Lesley Manville as Maria Hale

Jo Joyner as Fanny Thornton

Jo Joyner as Fanny Thornton

Pauline Quirke as Dixon

Pauline Quirke as Dixon

Brian Protheroe as Mr. Bell

Brian Protheroe as Mr. Bell

Rupert Evans as Frederick Hale

Rupert Evans as Frederick Hale

John Light as Henry Lennox

John Light as Henry Lennox

William Houston as John Boucher

William Houston as John Boucher

Mr. Thornton and Margaret...

Mr. Thornton and Margaret…

 

INTO THE STORM: Richard Armitage US Review

Richard Armitage is Vice-Principal, Math Teacher, Football Coach, Dad and Hero in "Into the Storm"

Richard Armitage is Vice-Principal, Math Teacher, Football Coach, Dad and  Crisis-Hero in “Into the Storm”

I will begin with a confession: since it was announced that Richard Armitage would star in what I came to call the “Unnamed Into the Black Tornado Storm Sky Project 4, 5, 6(?),” I planned to see it only because it featured RA as its leading man. You see, I am not really a disaster film fan. But I should’ve trusted RA because I’ve never been so wrong in all my life. Brief explanation: Like most of us who follow RA’s career, I’d been reading about Into the Storm for, roughly, three years. It seemed to start out as a small, found-footage-intertwined-with-human-stories film. Then we started seeing photos like this one. (Tweeted by that [formerly tricky] Into the Storm Producer Todd Garner!)

Hmmm, looking pretty disastery here, Mr. G.

Hmmm, looking pretty disastery here, Mr. G.

Then the bits and pieces of video started coming out, and they were full-on disaster clips. But Mr. G. promised he would supply “the power of the human spirit” that RA mentioned at CinemaCon.* The second trailer delivered. Still it was a monster movie, those tornadoes clearly being both monster and star. And I’m not a monster movie person. But, accompanied by a gleeful group of Richard Armitage US members, I was brave enough to attend a preview screening in Atlanta, thanks to Mr. G (who turns out to be a fun tweeter and fine man), and the generosity of Warner Brothers Pictures. I want to say that any connection – albeit slim – or gratitude for their kindness has no effect on this review. Nor is my assessment affected by my respect and affection for Richard Armitage overall. Believe it or not, the film was so engrossing, and the ensemble of actors and their characters so strong, I actually forgot to focus on Gary Fuller. The film takes just the right amount of time establishing its human characters: a rather brusque man, Gary Fuller, has an awkward and uncomfortable relationship with his two sons. The backstory is that there was a divorce and then the mom died, so the boys have come to live with Dad. But Dad – for a vice-principal of a high school – doesn’t really seem to know how to communicate with teenagers. (I kept reminding  myself that he’s also a football coach and so is used to having his orders – never suggestions – followed.) The sons are beautifully realized by Max Deacon as serious and shy Donnie, and an initially cheeky Nathan Kress, as younger son Trey. Donnie’s secret crush Kaitlyn – a smart, environmentally conscious young woman – portrayed by Alycia Debnam Carey rounds out the dynamic of the family relationships.

"Did you hear that? "Max and Kaitlyn.

“Did you hear that?” Max and Kaitlyn.

Younger Fuller son Trey (Nathan Kress) is a natural videographer.

Younger Fuller son Trey (Nathan Kress) is a natural videographer.

And then we have the Storm-Chasers, Matt Walsh as Pete, who has to get that shot before losing his backers, Sarah Wayne  Callies as Allison, a scientist, and a smart, strong female character; Arlen Escarpeta as Daryl, a dedicated storm chaser with a heart; and Jeremy Sumpter as Jacob, a newbie  storm-chaser-shooter who’s uncertain about his latest career choice.

Pete (Matt Walsh), Trey (Nathan Kress, Gary (RA) and Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies) take stock after the first wave of storms.

Pete (Matt Walsh), Trey (Nathan Kress, Gary (RA) and Allison (Sarah Wayne Callies) take stock after the first wave of storms.

And that’s the cast… OH! Except the wild cards: Reevis and Donk, wanna-be YouTube stars. Since the second trailer debuted, to me, Reevis has been the “Dude! M’arm hairs” guy and Donk has been his sidekick. From that trailer, I swore if anything happened to “Dude,” I’d never recover. Played, respectively (if not respectably), by Jon Reep and Kyle Davis, these two guys provide much-needed comic relief. (Hey, I’m Southern, and was not offended in the least, just don’t call them hillbillies or rednecks… these kinds of guys are just about everywhere in the US.)  And if their Flaming Pool of Death gag and its aftermath doesn’t make you laugh out loud, I worry for you.

Donk (Kyle Davis) survives the Flaming Pool of Death he and Reevis (Jon Reep) set up to launch their YouTube stardom!

Donk (Kyle Davis) survives the Flaming Pool of Death he and Reevis (Jon Reep) set up to launch their YouTube stardom!

So that’s the – forgive me – calm before the storm(s). You’ve all seen samples of that video. Helicopters crashing into buildings, planes swept up in funnels, a tornado bearing right down on our people and, of course, the fire funnels. But there is so much more. And all of it is breathtaking. The storms and their destructive power are stunning and relentless and horrifying, and – with the theater sound – is about as real as you can get to a tornado without actually being in one (and I have).

One tornado approaches... there are more.

One tornado approaches… there are more.

And while this nasty fella makes his way toward our heroes… our YouTube stars chuck their beer cans to record it while Storm-Chaser Daryl gets a money shot. nathan-kress-into-storm-stills-16 All this said, honestly,  I have to see this film again, and perhaps several times; in fact, I’ll be at the theater with friends on Opening Day, August 8. There is SO much going on, I found it difficult to focus… even on RA. Plus, it was SO much more than I expected: more believable storms, more heartbreak, more humanity, more beauty, more power, more character development. In fact, the ensemble is amazing. Standouts are Max Deacon, whose American accent is flawless and seems effortless, and his character is both poignant and brave. I expected Nathan Kress to turn in a solid performance, and he did. Matt Walsh’s Pete is simply fascinating to watch… in every scene. Sarah Wayne Callies is a welcome note of sanity and humanity in the chaos. Jon Reep and Kyle Davis are unforgettable. And then there’s RA. As the head of what appears to be a rigidly structured household, he is hardly sympathetic in the beginning. His first scene with Donnie breaks my heart. And he spends much of the film yelling over the wind; he has few quiet moments. (An aside: how I long to see RA in a role that allows him to speak quietly, using that voice and all its nuance.) Yes, there is a character arc, but in his case, I longed for more. And that’s not RA’s fault, but the production’s or the script’s. Still, it’s a solid performance – especially considering his water phobia and having a truck dropped in the street just 10 meters in front of him. He delivers what the director and script called for, but I think much of Gary’s humanity was the result of RA’s suggestions, and Director Steven Quale’s openness to collaboration.

The Fuller Family have gone Into the Storm.

The Fuller Family have gone Into the Storm.

AMENDMENT: I had said after my first screening that I thought that the epilogue with some of the characters updating their status felt tacked on and simplistic. But I’ll say no more about that here. I have thoughts, but don’t want to give anything that might resemble a content spoiler. On SECOND viewing, I want to make it VERY clear that the the ultimate final scenes were very satisfying! You’ll see what I mean when you see the film.

And, I have to say, there is just one detail continues to bug me: what happened to all those dozens of other school buses filled with students and others at the school’s storm shelter?  This is the last school bus we see,  and it’s just the one Gary and his crew were in… It is a puzzlement.

Gary, his abandoned school bus, Donnie,  Kaitlyn, Trey and Allison... where's everyone else?

Gary, his abandoned school bus, Donnie, Kaitlyn, Trey and Allison… where’s everyone else?

That side,  it’s a wild ride with interesting characters, monster storms and a super cast. Terrific for a summer movie. Congrats, everyone.  As RA says:

I'm really proud of the film and I hope people enjoy it... and there's always room for a good disaster movie.

“I’m really proud of the film and I hope people enjoy it… and there’s always room for a good disaster movie.” ~ RA to RA US Special Correspondent Sara Alize Cross

Finally, one last shot of the entire cast at the premiere… Didn’t I tell you that Jon and Kyle are unforgettable?

L-R) Jon Reep, Todd Garner, Max Deacon, Matt Walsh, Arlen Escarpeta, Sarah Wayne Callies, Nathan Kress, RA (behind Nathan), Alycia Debnam Carey, Steven Quale, Kyle Davis and Jeremy Sumpter.

L-R) Jon Reep, Todd Garner, Max Deacon, Matt Walsh, Arlen Escarpeta, Sarah Wayne Callies, Nathan Kress, RA (behind Nathan), Alycia Debnam Carey, Steven Quale, Kyle Davis and Jeremy Sumpter.

Please let me know your thoughts about the film… and I may have a whole ‘nother reaction after seeing it a second (and third and fourth, infinity) time. 

Our Black Carpet interviews with dome of the cast – RA, Matt, Max and Arlen – Are all here in one sweet clip! The Richard Armitage US/Sarah Alize Cross team and their roles: Interviewed by: Sara Alize Cross; Shot by: S. Iturri Sosa, Rachael Levy, Adam Smith Sound by: Lana T. Yang

You may also follow Richard Armitage US on FacebookTwitter and Tumblr.

 * “The power of nature is both terrifying and awe-inspiring, but what is more inspiring than that is the power of the human spirit.” ` Richard Armitage, CinemaCon, March 2014.

 

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