Doctor Strange is a beautiful but ultimately flawed Marvel film

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 Doctor Strange header image

Marvel films are always some of the most anticipated films of the year by many moviegoers, and Doctor Strange was no different. The film was the subject of a lot of hype because of a stellar cast and the fact that Marvel’s movies have been consistently enjoyable since the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008 with The Incredible Hulk.  Of course, the quality of the movies has been inconsistent, and unfortunately, Doctor Strange is closer to the bottom tier of MCU movies than the top. The tier includes films such as Iron Man 2, Ant Man and the Thor movies, which are films that are enjoyable and fun,but aren’t what we have come to expect from Marvel especially after others such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

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A long time Star Wars nerd’s thoughts on Rogue One

Star Wars: Rogue One/Disney
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As someone who has loved Star Wars since his formative years, I could not be more excited for Rogue One. Based on the two trailers we’ve seen so far, it looks like everything any Star Wars fan could want in a spinoff film. It doesn’t feel like the adventures we’re used to seeing in the  Episodes. Rogue One feels like a war film set within the Star Wars universe, and that’s what we fans need after The Force Awakens, a movie that feels different, especially after so many complained about how derivative The Force Awakens felt. Though it is important to note, had The Force Awakens not been so successful at the box office, Rogue One never would have been made. In fact, I believe Disney had to play it safe in order to rekindle people’s love for Star Wars after the prequels. Now we’re getting to see the risks and the expansion of the universe we wanted all along with new planets and new characters, and I couldn’t be happier.

Rogue One is going to be a lot darker in tone than anything we’ve seen previously. We’re truly going to get to see the Empire at the height of its power for the first time, and the power of the Empire is intimidatingly visible in the trailers.  If you remember, A New Hope is set as the Rebels are achieving their first real victory. Leia has escaped the star destroyer with the plans to the Death Star, a victory which was made possible by the events of Rogue One. But this film is set before that victory, so the rebels we see look downtrodden and hopeless as evidenced by their uniforms and lines such as “if the Empire has this kind of power, what chance do we have.” The good guys look seriously outgunned with scenes such as the AT-ST attacking the rebel troops and the waves of Stormtroopers and Deathtroopers.

In another change from the Star Wars we’re used to seeing, it doesn’t look like the Jedi are going to play a part in the events of this film. We have yet to see a Jedi, or even a lightsaber, appear in the trailers. There’s even a shot that appears to be the Jedi mecca of Jedha being occupied by the Empire because we see a toppled Jedi statue.

Topped Jedi statue on Jedha

Rogue One is also going to be introducing all new characters, and we can assume none of them survive considering their lack of appearances in the original trilogy. Jyn Erso played by Felicity Jones is going to be the film’s focus, but there’s a diverse cast portrayed by actors Mads Mikkelson, Donnie Yen, Diego Luna, and Forest Whitaker to name a few. I’m particularly excited to see Donnie Yen in a Star Wars film since I’ve always loved his martial arts films.

Donnie Yen in Rogue One

The latest and final trailer seems to reveal the emotional core of the film and more about the mission. It appears Jyn’s father Galen, portrayed by Mads Mikkelson, is going to be an integral part of the mission since he is the architect of the original Death Star. It also appears he and the primary antagonist, Director Krennic, have history based on a couple shots in the trailer. Though I do wish the trailers wouldn’t have revealed those details. I would have much preferred those elements to be a surprise to moviegoers.

Galen Erso portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen

I simply cannot wait for December 16th though. It is unquestionably my most anticipated film of the year, and I only hope it lives up to my and the studio’s expectations. I want to see the film be an overwhelming success where Disney will continue to take risks with the universe and not play it safe. I also never want to leave the Star Wars universe again. I love the idea of Disney continuing the universe for many years to come.

UNLEASHED by Foolography

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On the cusp of tripling their Kickstarter goal, a hardware design company has teamed up with TriggerTrap to release a new way to control your DSLR without cables getting in the way – UNLEASHED by Foolography. The UNLEASHED is a Bluetooth dongle that allows your Nikon or Canon DSLR to be controlled remotely with your cellphone as its trigger.

Remote triggers for cameras aren’t new technology by any means but it hardly means that we’ve already stumbled across the perfect solution for photographers. Often times they are expensive or can strip down your camera’s features – like obstructing the hot shoe or keep you tethered to a shutter release cable; you can pretty much forget about setting your camera’s settings remotely as well. With the addition of compatibility with TriggerTrap’s software, the UNLEASHED goes from a simple wireless trigger to a tool that can take advantage of all the sophisticated sensors on your mobile device.

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The UNLEASHED Bluetooth camera trigger dongle connects to various Canon and Nikon models and allows for full camera controls over TriggerTrap’s app. Unlike traditional remote triggers, UNLEASHED takes advantage of the various modes and settings available to TriggerTrap users including the trigger being activated by sounds, vibration, motion, and facial recognition. On top of triggering up to 6 connected cameras, the UNLEASHED gives photographers full use of the TriggerTrap’s Timelapse and HDR Modes all without ever having to fiddle with your camera’s settings after setting up. Best of all the UNLEASHED dongle is a plug-and-play device that doesn’t require charging – after all when shooting star trails or time lapses the last thing you want is another device to remember to charge.

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In keeping with its simplicity and its appeal to a broad range of photographers, the UNLEASHED app will be available to iOS and Android users. As of this post, the UNLEASHED has not only met their target goal of $67k for the production of the UNLEASHED Bluetooth dongle but have nearly tripled the target amount meeting their first stretch goal – an Apple Watch App (so iOS users can even keep their phones in their pockets).

Control your DSLR from your Mobile Device - no cables.

Control your DSLR from your Mobile Device – no cables.

We’ll be keeping an eye on the device as it can open up the world of multiple camera triggering for the enthusiast photographer. In the meantime, head over to Foolography’s Kickstarter campaign for the full details and some additional screen grabs of the app in action.

Contest: Be Adorama’s Top Photographer

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If you’ve ever thought you had the vision and technical prowess to be an in-demand photographer but didn’t know how to catch your big break, Adorama recently announced this year’s Top Photographer contest to be judged by Nigel Barker, most famous for his participation in Tyra Banks’ America’s Top Model. Five Finalists will be chosen by Nigel Barker and will complete in a web series produced by Adorama where each of the five finalist will be judged on their technical ability but more importantly their ability to use their technical skills to execute their unique vision. Continue reading