Sunday, November 19, 2017

Movie Review: Thor Ragnarok

Paul G Newton's Review of Thor Ragnarok

I finally gave in and went to see the heralded Thor Ragnarok last night.  I did not want to see it, really, but many of the screen writing podcasts I have been listening to, like The Curious about Screenwriting Podcast, seem to love the story. While I felt it had some relative fun aspects to the movie, I did not feel that it left me wanting to see more or other films.

The story structure seems sound, its flow was not interrupted with randomness or unnecessary scenes that failed to complete the mission of furthering the story. It did have redeeming character traits that made the characters somewhat like-able and, on first watch, the story seemed succinct. That did not spur my imagination and left me with a feeling of emptiness when leaving the theater. It was not a bad movie and it did everything right in the way that movies are doing them today but it didn't do what I want a movie to do and create a lasting impression upon my psyche that I can carry with me on my travels through my own life.

I do have to applaud the movie for trying to stay true to its roots in the 1970's, 1980's motif that the first one had with its cheesy subtitles and crummy music but even that left me rolling my eyes because of the recent phenomena of the Netflix Stranger Things. It actually cheapened it for me because I hate pandering, especially in film where the movie has to hold its own for the sake of itself. Even though, I must admit that no movie seems to do that these days. A practice that I believe should still be first and foremost in the minds of the creators of any film yet has seemed to fall out of favor.

The film opens with Thor being trapped by a Devil looking creature that makes no honest sense to anyone like myself... but there is a reason for the creature as is blatantly and needed for the movie to have an ending. Unfortunately for this film I knew exactly what this characters purpose was at about three minutes in. Ultimately telling me the ending of the movie and leaving no suspense or tension to make me WANT to keep watching. Then it did it again and again... Every new character that was introduced strengthened my guess and eventually left me with two hours of my time taken from me while draining my pockets of the money it took to purchase the ticket. At the end of the film I found myself ultimately disappointed in the plot and story because at no point did anything task my senses or make me second guess the ending that was already completed in my mind. In fact, the only other movie that was more blatant about its ending at the very beginning was a terrible film that had so much potential but the worst story ever called "The Others" starring Nichole Kidman. This movie is about a mother and her children whom are haunted by ghosts but it turns out that they are actually the ghosts. Something that was very thinly veiled at the beginning leaving nothing to the imagination and thus ruining the story.

One thing that immediately set off my alarms is when Thor losses his hammer just shortly after his father dies.  The only recourse for the character is to take the throne from the bad bad lady in the Maleficent outfit and kill her with the thing holding Thor prisoner at the beginning of the movie. I mean they didn't even try. The fact that her horns and the horns of what could be mistaken as the devil from "Pick of Destiny" look exactly the same are just some of the dead give aways. Needless to say, any entertainment value from this movie could only come from the crude and silly jokes, insider trading of the Avengers prior films and fighting. None of which actually advance the story or make any sort of coherent point that might stimulate anyone other than fan boys who would watch any Marvel movie with exuberance just because it is a Marvel movie, regardless of its content or quality.

I tried to enjoy the movie, I truly did. The laments of Thor as he tries to be cool but just isn't are humorous and normally might make him more human but fail miserably and only serve to throw us out of the film and remind us that we are in a theater and not somewhere else. Then there is the CGI. It is supposed to be the state of the art but it looks horrendous. None of the places looked real to me at any point other than the short scene on earth where they are talking to their father. Everything else was half baked and cheap. I know what it takes to make stuff in computer land look real and have done it myself and I assure you, it could have been done much better for an extra couple of hours worth of work. Not only do the locations look very fake and seem to make us want to believe that outer space exists in the land of Roger Rabbit all of the animated characters look equally bad. At no point did I ever believe Hulk was in the same room as Thor and not just some cartoon skillfully drawn but poorly colored.

I would say this movie is worth a watch on Netflix or Amazon Prime but that is about as far as I would go. It isn't a terrible movie but it's not that great either. Movies should challenge us, make us want to be right next to the character on the screen and endear themselves into our psyche when we are done watching them. True cinematic gold must contain something of lasting value that stays with you. Thor, Ragnarok doesn't even come close to doing this on any level and it is a waste of time. If you want pure entertainment for the sake of entertainment, watch something else because this doesn't even accomplish that. Terminator 2 is better at just tantalizing your brain, probably because it's endearing and leaves you different than you were before you saw it the first time. Something this movie and most of its contemporaries fail to do.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Making Films on Zero Money. WE CAN DO IT!

We all have it in us, a story that needs to be told.  Some act upon it, some aren't aware of it and some, well... some are like me and consumed by it.  I have always been able to come up with a story just by looking at an object, observing people or just sitting on my couch doing nothing.  These stories have consumed me and have bored me.   Some have made me pace around the house looking for the right words to transpose upon paper or type into a document.  It is these stories that have driven me to make films.  I admit, I tried writing a book or two in my life, but the training that I needed to make them coherent I just didn't have.  On the other hand, making them into a visual story has always been something I inherently have a talent for.

I began making films a very long time ago. Ok, not that long ago, but far enough in the past that I did not have access to the tools to even attempt to do it right. Even 10 years ago the cost of making a film was too high for a first timer. Now the time is right. Filming has become accessible to the lowest on the totem pole for a small amount of money.

In 1991 Richard Linklater made a movie called "Slacker". It was arguably a film that made history. The film was done for around twenty five thousand dollars and was shot with actors that were less than trained, with a few that were. It was mostly incoherent prose and conspiracy theory mixed with nonsensical dialogue. With all of that, it still won film festivals and even played at Sundance, ushering an "independent film" sub genre.

After "Slacker" we saw another indie film that rose to stardom and launched many careers of Pop Culture Icons. Kevin Smith's cult classic "Clerks" makes many of the same arguments and has conspiracy theory throughout but in the form of Comic Book references and crassness (of which I love tremendously). It's success spun off many movies, TV show pilots and even a Saturday morning cartoon. This film is as eerily the same as slacker as it is different.

A phenomenal success and a very cheap film to make, "Clerks" was shot in black and white in a world of color only because they didn't have enough cash on hand to buy the color film stock.

Even though these films were made for "nothing" in comparison to even the cheapest of the movies in the 1990's, they still cost the equivalent of Fifty and Thirty thousand dollars in today's money, respectively.  For the average man or woman in even the middle class of American society, these amounts are pipe dreams. Who in their right mind would spend an entire years salary or max out a bunch of credit cards to make a movie that might possibly never be seen by anyone? I would, if I had it to spend, but that's just me and I don't.

Since it has been deemed financially unattainable to pay for a film out of my own pocket I work very hard at making them for FREE.  Yes, I said FREE. Well, they aren't technically free, I suppose.  I did buy the camera and the lenses as well as the computer and other nefarious items that I probably don't need to tell an effective story.  But lets not ponder on that too long, right now.

Everyone with a modern smart phone can make a film for free.  All you need is dedicated people to surround you. If you want to make a movie that doesn't look too bad and it sounds good you can definitely do it for a few thousand dollars in equipment and about a hundred hours of you tube learning about lighting and camera composition. Get a boom mic, a pole to put it on a DSLR and about three lights. You probably wont make the next Hollywood Blockbuster but you WILL make something special to you and the people that helped create it.

So now, It's up to you... and me, I guess.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Movie Review: The Gallows

So, I am a filmmaker, as most of you know.  Because I am a filmmaker, I ingest many films and TV.  Most of the time the films I watch are good and sometimes they are passable.  On occasion I will see a film because of Hype or fanfare.  I am usually not disappointed in those films but that does not mean I actually liked them or would have chosen to see the pop culture laden and obviously manufactured films on my own accord.  One of my most read reviews is of American Sniper, a movie I would never have chosen to see on my own (I also worked for the movie theater at the time so I didn't have to pay to see it, another bonus).  All this being said, I chose to watch "The Gallows".

"The Gallows" is a film about a jerk jock, Ryan (Ryan Shoos, he used his real name) and his friend Reese (Reese Mishler) who are forced to take Drama in high school.  The class has decided to remake the play "The Gallows" even tough the last time it was performed the lead actor was accidentally hanged.  The lead actress Pfeifer (Pfeifer Brown) is focused on the play and wants to perform it again for unknown reasons never revealed in the movie.  The film is recorded "first person " by Ryan with a digital camera and is constantly filming everything (why?  No Idea).  Reese is infatuated by Pfeifer  and always gets tongue tied when he is next to her.  To help his friend, Ryan enlists his girlfriend Cassidy (Cassidy Gifford) to take Reese to the school's theater and destroy the set so the play cannot go on, relieving them all from having to endure the play.  

I wanted to see it because of the trailer.  It seemed like it might be an interesting take on the "found footage" genre.

I made a special trip to watch this film.  Even though my admission price was only $4.35 I dare say it was a waste of money.  It is the traditional shakey camera and poor acting that we have come to expect from a film such as this.  As a filmmaker, I know they spent very little time filming it.  It is easy to see and hear.

"The Gallows" is the same old cruddy, cheaply made horror movie written without much thought to the script.  I wouldn't be surprised if this was only two versions away from he rough draft or even written/re-written the day of the shoot.  It wasn't scary (other than one time when I was falling asleep and a loud noise woke me up) and the scenes were predictable.

The ending, however, might have had a better story than the movie itself.  (Spoiler Alert)  In the end the lead actress is having her hair brushed by her mother in a shrine dedicated to the actor from the play put on so many years ago.  Irony ensues as we see that her mother was the lead actress, scarred for life from the death during the original play.  I would be more interested to see a movie about the conspiracy they perpetuated with the ghost in order to kill the "new" leads of the play than this predictable and poorly made film.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

American Sniper Review: No Politics here!

I finally went to see American Sniper.  I would probably have seen it sooner or not at all if it were not for my one day a week (at least it was supposed to be one day a week) job at a local movie theater.  It really is a lack-luster job with terrible pay but the benefit of seeing movies for free is what attracted me.  I did the math a while back and I was spending over $60 a month on films when good ones actually came out.  So, I went and saw it.  It was pretty much exactly what I thought it would be.  I did have a pressing question in my mind though, how would they address Chris Kyle's tragic murder.  I  thought that the filmmakers (Clint Eastwood and company) might not even go there, but they did and it was very respectable.

As far as the movie is concerned, they did a good job.  It is a mix of war and the emotional toll that it takes upon anyone that is involved in the implementation of it.  War is terrible, we all must agree on that.  Anyone that believes otherwise has a screw loose.  The military aspect of it was mostly true to life and I must say, they put the most horrific things in the movie.  Since it s pretty hard to spoil the movie for anyone that has an internet connection and googles the life of Chris Kyle I will forgo the niceties and not worry about spoilers other than not revealing the plot itself.  That is about the only thing that may keep you subtly guessing about this movie.

Chris Kyle
For those of you who haven't heard the account, here is a little recap:  Chris Kyle was a rodeo man who decided to join the military after watching the news about terrorist attacks on US forces and innocent people overseas.  He was somewhat of a simple man, not to be confused with a simpleton, they are distinctly two different things.  Chris joined the U.S. Navy and graduated BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL) training then went on to specialize as an elite sniper.  After September 11th 2001 he was deployed to Iraq and fought in the toughest campaigns, serving four tours.  Chris Kyle went on to become the U.S. Navy's deadliest sniper.  After his deployment ended, mostly by his own choice according to the movie, Chris Kyle learned to deal with his own demons by helping out his fellow soldiers fight theirs as well.  From all accounts it comforted him and allowed him to move on with his life.  Sadly, another Veteran was unable to deal with the emotions and tragedy of his own life and murdered Chris Kyle when Chris took him to a shooting range.  

Alright, now that everyone is up to speed on the story, here is my review of the movie itself.  This is not a commentary on Chris Kyle, the U.S. Military or anything political.  I am solely interested in the movie's technical aspects, actors and screenplay.  Just so you know.  No hard feelings to those who love the movie and definitely No politics here.

I would liked to have seen some more care taken with the artistic beauty of the film.  The effects were underwhelming at times.  The helicopters that flew through the air were right about 75% of the time but I did see some scenes where the effects were revealed.  Believe it or not, the process of creating realistic looking 3d models is not as refined as one might think.  In an action movie the film maker can cover up effects that aren't quite right with some trickery in post.  You can oversaturate, use a mask or manipulate the gamma settings to hide flaws in animated objects easily when the entire film is somewhat based off of fantasy.  The real trick is to do it when you are looking for reality.  The sun is a tricky thing and while we have figured out most of it, the fine details are still very difficult to master.  All in all I was't distracted by the effects and most moviegoers will not notice.  So, that's actually a win in my book.  Not a home run, but a win.

The acting is another story.  Bradley Cooper did an amazing job.  I mean really amazing.  Growing up in the south I have met and I am friends with rodeo men.  They have a demeanor about them, something that is found only in the culture.  Bradley nailed it.  For those of you that have seen the movie, I would not suggest just walking up to the cats, Chris Kyle is somewhat more friendly than most, you have been warned.  Bradley Cooper portrayed Chic Kyle in such a believable way, it makes me wonder if Bradley knows some of these men.  Well, I guess he did, he met Chis Kyle and spoke to the man himself.  If any of you wonder why a war movie about a sniper who has killed more enemy combatants than any one else in a war that has been so controversial over the years has spurred so many award nominations, I have two words for you; Bradley Cooper.  I never found myself seeing through this mans acting.  To be honest, its about 50/50 when it comes to my ability to see when an actor is "acting".  So many actors seem like the same character over and over again, Micheal Keaton for example, because it is the person behind the mask that we are interested in.  Bradley Cooper's performance in this film was not one of these performances.  He stepped outside himself and portrayed the man and at no time did I feel that Bradley Cooper came out in the performance, Only Chris Kyle.  In fact, this performance has driven me to proclaim that Bradley Cooper is one of the greatest major actors alive.   I would have no problem casting him in just about anything.

There is one thing that bothered me though is it's screenplay.  The screenplay lacks depth and substance for the supporting characters.  Chris's wife Taya Kyle (Sienna Miller) finds Kyle in a bar, becomes his wife and has children.  Thats about all I know about the character, there really wasn't anything other than that.  Ok, she tells him how she wants him to come home and that she "wants her husband back": as his personality has been muted by war in order to deal with the overwhelming grief that he feels (which is lightly portrayed in the film) for killing.  The other supporting characters that he served with felt like day players or even throw away characters.  I know this is not what the screen-writers intended but that's the way it is.  I believe we were supposed to feel the grief Chris experienced when he lost a man but I didn't.  Ok, I did because they represent actual men with families but if it were a fictional story, I would have felt very little for them.  In fact, the only feels I had when we lost a character Chris Kyle served with came from the knowledge that they are real people and they really died.  It wasn't the actors who portrayed his team members fault I felt this way, that weight strictly falls on the screen-writer's shoulders.  If more time was spent with Taya and the other soldiers in the film, it would have been a truly heart wrenching story.

One last thing that I want to address.  it is something that I let slide and I assume everyone else did too.  It is something that everyone must have noticed.  It would surprise me if no one did.  In one scene where Chris and Taya are talking in their homes nursery a doll is used.  It is obviously a doll.  I would put money that they had a real baby for the role and the child was either sick or would not stop crying, forcing Clint Eastwood to just deal with it and move on.  It could be for other reasons with are just as palatable but it disappoints me very much with how little care they used in this scene.  Watching it unfold with he glaring baby doll drew me out of the scene 100%.  I would suppose that some audience members chuckled when they handed the doll off.  I was embarrassed  to be honest.  Wrap the doll up in a blanket or something Clint.  I would even have done that.  

All-in-all The movie was decent.  I would stop short of saying it is, in comparison to other movies of the year, an award winner, but good.  I felt the portrayal of the man himself was honest and care was taken to not soil the memory of the man and what he did.  Clint Eastwood did a good job showing what war is like and the toll it can take on even the toughest of us.  It didn't come across as anti-war tripe or NRA propaganda.  It was about a man and who he was.  I would say, for a movie that is about real life, it holds its ground and tells a good story in the most respectful way possible.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sci Fi 4 Me "12 Monkeys" review and my new "freemium" gig.

So all of you know that I am an avid film buff.  Duh, right!  I have been toying with helping with some SciFi type stuff with Jason P. Hunt out of Kansas City who runs the site SciFi4Me with some movie and TV reviews.  I finally jumped into the fray and recorded my first review of SyFy Channel's TV show "12 Monkeys".  It is a take on the original movie directed by Terry Gilliam starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt.  I know that I have been posting a lot about Gilliam lately but this just landed in my lap.  I thought, why not!  So I decided to have a little fun with my review and went a little long. Oops!  Jason didn't mind that I went over the original 3 minute time limit so there is that.  I bet it's because I am making it for free, yeah, that might be it.  I do know, I am not a fan of the cover art he chose.  I guess I will do it myself next time, sorry Jason.

One of the interesting things about the show is that you kind-of have to see the original movie before you watch it if you want to get up to speed fast enough to keep up with it.  I would dare say that most will not have to go back to "the source material" but it might be a 50/50 split.  It moves so fast in the pilot that if I wanted to browse Facebook on my phone or text my filming buddies I had to pause and come back to it.  There is a lot of information you have to absorb in order for the sow to make sense.  For one, time travel seems to confuse most folks who aren't up to speed on the genre.  I write about time travel in my shorts and screenplays quite often so my mind has "worked out" the paradoxes, to a point.  I mean, it is time travel after all, it can be hard!  Thinking about the speed of the program's pilot I completely understand why they did it.  As a writer that can coherently take you through three acts in less than twenty minutes, I am not sinless.  A TV sow like this has three jobs: Selling Advertising, Keeping you interested and making you want to return and watch the next one.  Thats a tall order when you pack on the load of keeping it relevant to the story line set forth in the movie and actually telling a story that makes sense involving time travel.

The lead character is a man named "Cole" (Aaron Stanford).  He is a vagrant from the future that has been incarcerated for some offense.  He lives in a world where the population has been struck by a virus that is believed to be man made in 2015 by Leland Goins (Zeljko Ivanek), the owner of a large company that develops pharmaceuticals as well as many other things.  Cole must travel back in time to find Leland and stop him from creating the virus that destroys humanity, but has no way of tracking him in the past.  In his attempt to find Goines, Cole returns a little too early (same as in the movie, btw) in an attempt for find Dr. Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull), kidnap and interrogate her, as she is the only person the scientists of the future believe can be sure to know where Goins might be.  Any of  you that have seen the movie will know that because Cole has arrived years before she would be introduced to Goins, Cassandra doesn't know who he even is.  There is a confrontation with police, Cole is shot and then disappears only to show up two years later for Cassandra with the same gunshot wound he sustained during her kidnapping.  She nurses him back to health and the game is on.  What, really?  Yes, really.

This is where I got a little pushed out of the story.  For me, the prospect of a kidnapped woman helping her kidnapper two years after her abduction stay alive puts me a little sideways.  I was even more put out when I watched some behind the scenes stuff on the SyFy Channels website.  If you watch long enough the show is cast as an "epic love story".  Ok... She falls in love with her kidnapper.  That's a tough pill to swallow.  If you watch Cassandra's reaction to Cole, you will see she is already falling for him.  I guess Munchausen syndrome is a thing in this show.

As far as the technical stuff; I wasn't overly impressed with it.  There is a scene where Cole scratches a watch from his past which, in turn, creates a scratch on the watch from his future and proves to Cassandra that his time traveling is real and not a delusion on his part.  The effect of the scratch appearing was cool but the shaking of the camera is somewhat cheeky.  The level of expertise to do this shake is not too hard, I even did it in my review.  There is some lens flares and an addition of light using an after market program.  It is ok, but to me it felt a little cheap.  I suppose it is the pilot and the money may have not been there just yet due to the fact that pilots are usually shot before major funding has been secured.  You can tell that they tried to color it "film Style" but the video look is still underneath it all as it is with most SyFy Shows.  In fact, I might have done a better job at getting the film look on my review.  I said Might,

All in all, I find the show somewhat entertaining.  It is dialogue heavy with not much Terry Gilliam camera work and shot set up going on.  It really is just another TV show as far as "prettiness" is concerned.   I plan on reviewing the as they come out, or until it is cancelled.  As of this moment I was unable to see the total viewership for the show and it might be next week before we know if anyone at all is watching and eventually, returning.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Where is the Move Scene these days? Where is the best place to work in film

The other day a friend of mine told me that I make better films on zero budget than Peter Jackson made before he found fame.  "Thanks! I needed that" was my reply.  He told me the cinematography, coloring and most everything else was just better.  As I let my ego absorb the comment I began to think about what he said and why, if this is true (which it is), am I not making something else besides commercials?  
There was only one distinct answer to this question.  I am living in the wrong place.  You see, I live in North West Arkansas.  Until about five years ago there was no movie scene.  Yes, there were films being made here by a handful of people but there was no "scene".  The advent of affordable DSLR cameras, and the like, have given birth to the area's film scene, for what there is of it. To say that it is burgeoning or becoming something to admire would be an overstatement.  There are still only a few of us around here that actually work at making films of any kind.  What's worse is the fact that many of us don't know each other nor do we talk very often.  Why this is, I really do not know.  We have a local Film Festival and some 48 hour film stuff going on, which is neat.  We do have a couple of film schools as well.  The Springdale High School has a film program that is rather large as well as two Colleges that offer programs, John Brown University and North West Arkansas Community College.  John Brown has a full on film studies where the students are required to make films of their own while NWACC is just getting off the ground.  Even if we did have a larger group of filmmakers, we would have no place to show the films.  There are no art houses or small boutique theaters to place a film.  You either have to have a party at your house or rely on the internets.  

So, since I am living in the wrong place I decided to narrow down places to move too.  This is where it starts to scare me a little.  You see, film has been struggling the past few years resulting in lower pay and fewer jobs.  In fact, Paramount just laid off 5% of their staff and that makes anyone wonder about moving to L.A. for a film job.  Even more scary is the fact that many Hollywood big budget movies insist on the VFX (Visual Effects) companies they work with do the job at prices that leave the VFX guys in a negative balance at the end, even if the movie makes money.  Top that off with the plan to move more and more VFX work to China and you have a recipe for disaster.

Of my choices I have narrowed it down to five; L.A., N.Y., Georgia, Vancouver and Texas.  The obvious reasons for going to L.A. we already know, Sun, Sand and Movies.  However, there have been less and less films made in L.A. every year.  Add to that the fact that I know virtually no one in L.A. that deals in the film business.  This makes moving to L.A. something of a pipe dream.  In fact these reasons could apply to N.Y. as well.  The subtle difference for me that keeps me thinking about moving to L.A. or N.Y. is the talent pool.  No where else are you going to find people that want to be in the film business more than life itself than in these two towns.  I have heard rumors of people quitting their jobs to work on a film that has zero pay.  Hell yeah, where can I find that sort of dedication here?!  The other choices are far more nuanced than the arguments for or against L.A. or N.Y.  With the exception of Vancouver, I can bet that I would be able to find work making commercials, just as I am here, in Georgia and Texas.  The reason I leave Vancouver out is because it is another country and I have never left the continental US, so I really don't know the process or the area.  Texas has a thriving film and art community in Cities like Austin and Ft. Worth.  The amount of people living in those areas dictates that you can find talent and like minded folks.  Georgia is where the hot action is.  Or at least where it is rumored to be.  The state gives tax credits to folks that make films in the state and the state actually pays the money.  Louisiana tried that but somehow they forgot that eventually you will need to write a check to keep the films coming.  Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that Georgia will not do the exact same thing next month forcing all the jobs back to L.A.

So you see, I do not want to put my cart before my horse and move to a place where I will end up being right back in the same situation I am in now.  I want to make the best decision I can with as much info as possible.  The last thing I want to do is fall for Hollywood-itis and move out there with no job, no prospects for a job and low cash reserves.  

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

iPhone 6 the last camera you will ever buy? Not Hardly

I have been an iPhone owner since the first one hit the market.  No, I am not a tech nerd or a Hipster, I just want a good product that works.  I know, I know... I can already hear the iPhone haters and the Droid fan-boys mantra coming across the interwebs on why the iPhone is crap and Droid is best.  Just stop now and keep reading.  This isn't about the phone, its about the incessant blog posts on why the iPhone camera is the last camera anyone will need to buy.  It is, unfortunately, quickly becoming the latest urban myth.  If you ever wanted to take photographs like a pro, well, the iPhone will not get you anywhere near shooting like one.  There is so much more to taking a photograph than the camera.  Yes, you can take great photos with the new iPhone 6 but just because you have a great camera does not mean that you will automatically take great pics.

ADRIENNE PITTS, London, United Kingdom
Here is a great example of great photos taken with the last iteration of the Apple magic wand.  Is it the photo, the resolution or the eye of the photographer?  You already know what I am going to tell you, its the photographer.  Lets say this photo was taken with the old silverback iPhone 3G, would that have made it any better?  Probably not, in fact there is no way it could be better but it would still be a great photograph.  Even if this photo was poor resolution and the colors were slightly off it would not have made a difference.

The iPhone 6 is an impressive camera as well as a video camera.  It is not, however, a professional camera.  It has flaws, I could go into those flaws but why waste your time?  After reading this post you would undoubtedly say "well, it is a phone after all".

To say that this is the camera to end all cameras, that is tantamount to saying the new Fords will be the last car you would ever have to buy.  Please don't send me emails hating on Fords, it's sarcasm, get over it.  Anywhoo..  Yes, soccer moms and ego driven selfie takers are going to go gaga for the new found prowess of the camera mixed with great software emulation of actual photographic techniques.  They will post millions of these photos promptly after activating their new toys.  People will comment on the photos, like them and some may think that they can go into business as Pro-Photogs because they take such great selfies.  I am looking forward to laughing at the photos actually.  For that is what I do, I laugh at narcissism put on display.  (ok, this blog is getting really mean)

This is actually a more common problem in the photography world than you would expect.  Many amateur photographers who do really nice work are of the mind set that the camera is the most important thing.  They buy a great full frame camera for about 5k and a wonderful lens for another 4k and the pictures still look just like the ones they were taking with that Cannon T2i they bought at Sam's Club.  These cats show off their pictures to the rest of the world and proclaim them to be some of the best ever, they submit to the photo contests and tell all their friends how they must give up a full time job to pursue a career in photography because they are so great.  Many a camera company has gotten rich from the promise of better photos if you buy their newest model.  It never works.

Cameras will always be evolving.  The tech will get better and better with easier interfaces and new ways to focus like the Lytro camera.  It is a really cool concept that I would not mind using for web site design.  It allows the viewer to click on the area they want to see and the photo then focuses on the pixel area that was clicked on leaving the formerly in focus area with a nice Bokeh.  It really almost gives you a Harry Potter Wizard Picture feel.  Over the next ten years you will see even greater advances.  Eventually we will be able to pick our brains for the photograph we would like to take without even picking up a camera.  Ok, maybe that one might be in 2215, but you get my point. This alone is why the iPhone 6 will not be the last camera you need to buy.

In closing this amazing, colossal and spirited blog that tends to rant on and on about seemingly nothing, I want to share with you a photograph you have seen before.  It was taken at my Uncle's lake house this past July (2014).  I used NO photoshop (other than to convert it to a jpeg) or digital effects.  No color was added or altered in a computer.  I did not even set the white balance to some crazy setting in my camera.  What I did do was use old school photography skills to make a great photo.  This is something that you cannot re-create on an iPhone.

Recreation at Sun Down
Paul G Newton
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Paul G Newton