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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Into the Storm

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Max Deacon, Richard Armitage and Nathan Kress star in a scene from the movie "Into the Storm."
Perhaps you were under the impression that tornadoes are no big deal.

If so, along comes the old-fashioned, special effects-driven disaster movie "Into the Storm" (Warner Bros.) to prove you wrong.

Essentially a found-footage "Poseidon Adventure" for the landlocked, director Steven Quale's film, as scripted by John Swetnam, does boast helpful touches of humor as well as such unimpeachable values as family solidarity and life-at-stake altruism. Still, the intensity of the building peril -- together with the vocabulary it elicits from the cast -- makes this ride on the whirlwind best for fully-grown thrill seekers.

Pity the small Midwestern burg of Silverton. Not only is it in the crosshairs of an unprecedented series of havoc-wreaking twisters, it's also a town without a state, at least as far as Swetnam's geographically coy screenplay is concerned. Are we or are we not in Kansas anymore? Enquiring minds want to know!

Be that as it may, Toto, Silverton is home to widower Gary Fuller (Richard Armitage) and his two teenage sons, Donnie (Max Deacon) and Trey (Nathan Kress). Alas for the lads, especially Donnie, Gary is the vice principal of the high school they both attend. He's also demanding and emotionally aloof, which leads to the odd intergenerational skirmish.

When not squabbling with Dad or pining for his seemingly unattainable schoolmate Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Donnie occupies his time videotaping everything in sight, a predilection that allows Quale to go (mostly) hand-held. Quale gets additional aid to that end from a crew of professional storm chasers who arrive on the scene just in time to commit Silverton's impending demolition to pixels.

They're led by peevish documentarian Pete Moore (Matt Walsh). Pete is on edge because he and the gang have been wandering the countryside for a year without bankable results, a failure for which he blames their brainy meteorologist, Allison Stone (Sarah Wayne Callies).

Even if he is on the professional and monetary skids, though, Pete ought to console himself with the thought that the steel-plated, tank-like vehicle in which he pursues unsettled conditions hither and yon across the heartland is one uber-cool ride.

Naturally, Gary's boss -- who doesn't seem to spend much time watching the Weather Channel -- insists on holding graduation outside. And naturally Donnie and Kaitlyn, with whom he's finally connected, end up -- for reasons far too complicated to bother with -- in an abandoned factory on the outskirts of town where all manner of rusty debris is just waiting to fall on and entrap them.

Well, at least it makes for a memorable first date.

The film contains occasional grim violence and pervasive menace, a few sexual references, a couple of uses of profanity and frequent crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.





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Junipero Serra: In 1776, when the American Revolution was beginning in the east, another part of the future United States was being born in California. That year a gray-robed Franciscan founded Mission San Juan Capistrano, now famous for its annually returning swallows. San Juan was the seventh of nine missions established under the direction of this indomitable Spaniard. 
<p>Born on Spain’s island of Mallorca, Serra entered the Franciscan Order, taking the name of St. Francis’ childlike companion, Brother Juniper. Until he was 35, he spent most of his time in the classroom—first as a student of theology and then as a professor. He also became famous for his preaching. Suddenly he gave it all up and followed the yearning that had begun years before when he heard about the missionary work of St. Francis Solanus in South America. Junipero’s desire was to convert native peoples in the New World. </p><p>Arriving by ship at Vera Cruz, Mexico, he and a companion walked the 250 miles to Mexico City. On the way Junipero’s left leg became infected by an insect bite and would remain a cross—sometimes life-threatening—for the rest of his life. For 18 years he worked in central Mexico and in the Baja Peninsula. He became president of the missions there. </p><p>Enter politics: the threat of a Russian invasion south from Alaska. Charles III of Spain ordered an expedition to beat Russia to the territory. So the last two <i>conquistadors</i>—one military, one spiritual—began their quest. José de Galvez persuaded Junipero to set out with him for present-day Monterey, California. The first mission founded after the 900-mile journey north was San Diego (1769). That year a shortage of food almost canceled the expedition. Vowing to stay with the local people, Junipero and another friar began a novena in preparation for St. Joseph’s day, March 19, the scheduled day of departure. On that day, the relief ship arrived. </p><p>Other missions followed: Monterey/Carmel (1770); San Antonio and San Gabriel (1771); San Luís Obispo (1772); San Francisco and San Juan Capistrano (1776); Santa Clara (1777); San Buenaventura (1782). Twelve more were founded after Serra’s death. </p><p>Junipero made the long trip to Mexico City to settle great differences with the military commander. He arrived at the point of death. The outcome was substantially what Junipero sought: the famous “Regulation” protecting the Indians and the missions. It was the basis for the first significant legislation in California, a “Bill of Rights” for Native Americans. </p><p>Because the Native Americans were living a nonhuman life from the Spanish point of view, the friars were made their legal guardians. The Native Americans were kept at the mission after Baptism lest they be corrupted in their former haunts—a move that has brought cries of “injustice” from some moderns. </p><p>Junipero’s missionary life was a long battle with cold and hunger, with unsympathetic military commanders and even with danger of death from non-Christian native peoples. Through it all his unquenchable zeal was fed by prayer each night, often from midnight till dawn. He baptized over 6,000 people and confirmed 5,000. His travels would have circled the globe. He brought the Native Americans not only the gift of faith but also a decent standard of living. He won their love, as witnessed especially by their grief at his death. He is buried at Mission San Carlo Borromeo, Carmel, and was beatified in 1988. Pope Francis canonized him in Washington, D.C., on September 23, 2015.</p> American Catholic Blog Hope and faith can outshine the darkness of evil. However dense the darkness may appear, our hope for the triumph of the light is stronger still. Though violence continues to stain us with blood, the shadows of death can be dissipated with one act of light.

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