“Into The Storm”

The first natural disaster movie in years.

Starring mostly unknowns, the uber tornadoes are the star in “Into The Storm”, the first natural disaster movie to come along in how many years??? Come on, “Dawn Of the Planet Of The Apes” is NOT a natural disaster movie!!!

Set in the town of Silverton (we never learn which state though the small town is apparently big enough to have a major airport with jumbo planes- conveniently to destroy) , the film centers on a band of storm chasers in pursuit of a tornado to record for a documentary. They ultimately get their wish: an EF5- the worst on the scale. We’re talking a 2 mile wide tornado, destroying everything in its path.

Director Steven Quale (of “Final Destination 5” fame) ramps up the action by presenting the film in first-person narrative. The disaster unfolds in real-time, so it takes a while for the storms to brew .

Among the stars: Richard Armitage , who played Thorin in “The Hobbitt: An Unexpected Journey”, Sarah Wayne Collins of “Walking Dead” and Nathan Kress, who your kids may know from “ICarly”. So , yeah, the money was mainly spent on special effects.

While the tornado scenes were fun, the story is predictable. And I never really connected with any of the characters. Unlike the tornados, this film is no killer.

1-and-a-half stars



"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles starts out with a comic style opening credits sequence. It shows the Turtles’ basic origin, with them growing up, being trained by Master Splinter (the rat), which leads up to their newest (Turtles on steroids) look. Yes they're bigger than your average Teenage Turtle. BUT, and some have complained about the new look, they work well in a big budget Michael Bay produced action flick.

There seems to have been a slight change to the original story. Instead of being an accident that created them out of pet turtles, it was careful experimentation being conducted on the Turtles (and Splinter The Rat). And they're former pets to April O’Neil (Megan Fox).

I brought my daughter Cayley and her friend Drew to the Premiere so it was exciting to have Megan and Will Arnett (the two leads) introduce the film.

Drew, who is 11 like my kid, said he was impressed with the CGI and the fight sequences. Which were good. Cayley, who gives everything a 4 gave this a 3.5 and said, "Lacked the element of surprise!" She's getting better at reviewing. I took that into account and did a little research and found that Paramount was supposed to make this in 2012 but put it on the shelf because of script problems. Story's okay. It's what you would expect for the "Turtles" franchise. If we distill it down, like "Guardian's Of The Galaxy," it's about working together to win and family.

Look, you can't go wrong with this one for a family day out with the kids and the adults will like to look at Megan Fox. This one will give us a new series of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," movies for a long time. 3-D is worth the money. Fight sequences are great. Megan Fox is still Megan Fox of the "Transformers" franchise.

3 stars for family fun. 2.5 if you expect a serious movie and don't give in to "Turtle Power!"

"Cowabunga!" from Cope for Shelli Sonstein.

"100-Foot Journey"

With the popularity of cooking shows and the fact that a chef can become an international celebrity, this film will attract that audience for sure. It's also a feel good movie about an Indian family who recently lost their matriarch and were relocate with their van and all their restaurant supplies. While driving through France their van broke down and needed parts for repair. Figuring it was destiny, they planted roots there and bought an abandoned old restaurant that happened to be 100 feet from the most successful French cuisine restaurant in the area. The reason it was abandoned was because every restaurant that opened there failed. Not good odds. A war breaks out between the Matriarch of the French restaurant and Patriarch of the Indian restaurant and the lengths they go to prevent the other from succeeding give us great comic relief.

The son, who's the main chef of the Indian restaurant, figures out a way to go to work for the French restaurant and his success there gets him noticed by Paris and he becomes an International superstar chef. But he longs for home and family, walks out on Paris life, and heads back to the woman he's fallen for, a fellow chef back in the small town where everything started. The indian Patriarch and French Matriarch, having both lost their spouses well before the movie started, seem to be getting closer as well.

That's my summation of the movie. BUT, it's a bit too long. And while it has some great moments and is funny at times, it needed something more. My 11 year old went with me and said, "I'm glad we came to this one!" She thought it was good but didn't give it a rating, and remember she just about gives everything 4 stars. The cinematography is breathtaking.

I'll give it 2.5 stars overall.

Marc Coppola for Shelli Sonstein