into_the_storm_xlgFun as long as things are being destroyed, no fun when the screenplay tries squeezing out tears. Fortunately, there are at least three gloriously disastrous storm segments — four, if you count the quick but effective opening scene. The images of tornadoes vacuuming up everything in their path — from farm equipment to barns to jetliners — are smashing, as are shots of the twisters as they form in the clouds and funnel down to the ground. Effective sound editing throws up a din in which you can distinguish both the “freight train roar” of the weather cell and the screams of victims as roofs are torn away, power lines toppled and escape paths blocked. But even at just a minute under an hour and a half, the screenplay has to figure out backstories for the cast. And so we mark time (or go get snacks) while, say, this high school boy works out his Daddy issues and that high school girl faces an academic crisis and this storm chaser defends his alleged anything-for-a-shot callousness and that climatologist Skypes the daughter who misses her, blah blah blah. There’s even an (endless) race-against-the-clock effort to rescue that high school boy and girl, who are trapped in water that reaches up to their waist!… their chin!… their nose! The acting is unremarkable (although “Veep”s Matt Walsh does what he can) and a lot of the dialog is just ridiculous — never more so than when someone asks, “Is everyone ok?” (and it happens more than once). Um, sure, I’ve been thrown violently through the air against a metal grate, debris is raining down on my head and I just watched a colleague sucked heavenward to his death, but sure, I’ll be fine. — Jeff Schultz


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