Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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Basket Case 2 Blu-ray Review

 

OVERVIEW

The Original “Basket Case” was shot on a low-budget and in 16mm it starts off where the original left us after a quick recap it (with a blow-up version of the original print) we go from 16mm to 35mm! And the two brothers Duane and Belial are very much alive.

Rather than rehashing the first movie Frank Henenlotter opts for a different tone and take much akin to Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead 2” he in injects a firm dose of overt dark humour and comedy with dashes of trashy surrealism. The dynamic of the brothers in many ways takes a role reversal with Belial the one who is looking succeeding in finding a partner who is called Eve. Duane on the other hand is one who is the “outsider” but remains loyal to his brother and the people who have taken him in. It a in many ways a “family” movie as a opposed to the tragedy dynamic in first. The two brother’s worlds are opened up with hilarious consequences and ironic homage ending to the first move.

VIDEO

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Second Sight have done a brilliant job with the full 35mm presentation of the movie with colours and tone being detailed, deep and rich really showing of the extensive Belial upgrade and prosthetic make-up effects. There are the accusation specs of grain and dark other than that a brilliant presentation.

I watched this on my HD TV and in comparison to the previous DVD releases this is a big improvement most notable colour detail, image quality this an fantastic presentation.

AUDIO

I am glad Second Sight like with Arrow’s release of “Basket Case” kept to the roots of its original audio which is 2 channel stereo presentation which is clear, crisp with no audible problems such as distortion or hiss which is very good.

CONCLUSION

I giddy a wildly bizarre sequel that goes that despite being darkly comic still goes into areas of social commentary with the focus being expanding on the brothers interpersonal difficulties escalate in a wacky and wild finale.

 

 

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Book Review How to Best Help an Autism Mum By Sharon King

Image result for Sharon King How best

BOOK REVIEW

Sharon brings to the life a world in which people need to know about and the confines of subjection opened up deeper and emotion as a well placed flower, gathering water and sun in equal measure. Sometimes people do not realise the awareness and complexity of the flower and sundered people look back tracking the enlightenment and darkness as forms of reflectivity and an eternal promise of and finding of happiness and stability. Through expereince one does grow and Sharon presents her own beautiful journey of grownth to the eager reader.

Sharon conveys deep emotional introspection and wit in equal measure and she takes us on a journey that is like dark chocolate mixed with sugar bitter sweet and to her own admission it is so as she explains that with glorious and saddening anecdotes, personal examples and gentle direction to aid, advise not only the autism mum but the friends and family around her.

She talks of her feelings of her three children being all diagnosed on the autism spectrum, her husband, family and friends with a whole family dynamic in tow opening up a social context to which autism should and has to be put in. How else would one learn of differing forests and pastures not trod? Unless the delving experience hasn’t been shared to others? Sharon’s wit, desire, vitality, vulnerability, realism and clear devotion to her family burst forth from page to page.

I highly recommend this book to people on the spectrum parents, siblings and professional to let lose parental, practical, emotional and empowering grasp on the realities that are faced.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Book Review Autism Decoded: The Cracks in the Code: Volume 1 By Stella Waterhouse

 

This books is a must read for parents, professionals and people on the autism spectrum 

Stella Waterhouse has been a professional in the field of autism since the 1970’s with a whole wealth information that taps into the very soul with resonance and deep thought, she clear has a passion for getting the knowledge out there by presenting different aspects in chapters with detailed and accessible writing.

From detailed historical elements of autism, professionals and advocates on the autism spectrum  written with eager candor, emotion and objectivity to the multi-faceted nature of autism broken  down into accessible  pieces.

  • Sensory Perceptual Disorders
  • Sensory Processing
  • Theory of Mind
  • Context Blindness
  • Language Processing
  • Exposure Anxiety 
  • Alexithymia
  • Personality Types
  • OCD, ADHD and other co-conditions
  • Short/Long Term Memory
  • System of “Sensing”
  • Facilitated Communication 
  • Left-Right Brain Functions & Brain Development 
  • Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome 
  • Savantism

The running theme in book contextual to the information based on the specific chapter is to give a human element that touches the reader, makes them think, reflect, perspective take, feel emotion and more.(with first person account and historical accounts).Woven with relative and  factual elements (such as the brain and nervous system) that broaden the palette and overall sphere of information giving rounded, objective and fluidity the runs from page to page.

This is a refreshing book that achieves the very title it was given looking beyond the stale and liner 2D nature of autism and opening up a broadening 3D perspective that will no doubt help generations to come. Highly recommended.

Paul Isaacs 2017

 


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Doctor Who – Series 5,6 & 7 – Blu-ray Review

Image result for matt smith doctor who blu-ray

Note: This is the Full Blu-ray Boxset 

OVERVIEW

This is the the 11th Doctor’s Full Tenure as The Doctor from Series 5 to 7 which is three separate boxsets with extras.

PLOT

Matt Smith dons the mantle as the 11th Doctor thick and fast with a giddy and promising quirkiness that shows that “Who” is going into different direction and it certainly was. I have stated in the the review of the Series 8 the level of complex story arcing and dovetailing (in typical time bending fashions) comes thick and fast through the series tenure River Song’s timeline is expanded upon, and her origins revealed. Then Amy & Rory’s dynamic story and ultimately bittersweet storyarc as both a being married couple and travelling companions this certainly is a different tone.

I could use words like “mature” and “dark” however it is much more than that the serials come across more thriller-esque possibly due to the  drastic changes in production and overall direction, the humour is less apparent and that lends to more serious and times depressing impact. I feel the with each serial the stories and tone and overall atmosphere progressively change for example compare Matt Smith’s first series with his final and you will see what I mean.

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SPECIAL EFFECTS

I viewed this TV serial in HD (1080i 50fps) Doctor Who – Series 5, 6 & 7 The picture quality is top notch vivid colours, vast amounts of detail and a great leap in special effects making full use of the technology to make vastnand incredible worlds. The audio is mastered in HD with amazing bass and full dynamic range.

CONCLUSION

It really did grow on me and I am somewhat sad I missed out on Matt Smith’s outings as the infamous timelord the first time around, however viewing his full outing as the Doctor has made me appreciate that change is good, atmosphere and storytelling are fluid whichcan take you to the further reaches of space much like the traveller himself. Highly Recommended


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Doctor Who – Series 8 – Blu-ray Review

Image result for doctor who series 8 series blu-ray uk

 

OVERVIEW

This is the beginning of the 12th Doctor’s first series which in the order of the “new” series 8 which consists of the original TV run of episodes plus extras.

PLOT

Peter Capaldi is spearheaded into the London for his first adventure, the overall tone and quality is very dark in terms of content, plotlines and direction, atmospheric camerawork, lightening and for his first feature long series and tenure as the doctor he has a mysterious, gritty and sometimes quite frightening quality to him. The dynamic of his changing relationship with Clara is rather moving the overall story arc is not about obvious common theme in fact it much about people finding love, acceptance and a place in the world. The dots do however come into place in the final episode with the “mastermind” being the fellow timelord Missy who was The Master in previous incarnations the Doctor has always faced a moral agenda and paradox but I feel this is the first series to go beyond touching upon it and using it a spiritual link between the episodes.

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SPECIAL EFFECTS

I viewed this serial in HD (1080i 50fps) Doctor Who – Series 9  which has some rather striking photography and set pieces, one notable effect which is amazing the half-face man in the first episode a splendid achievement which has a true “movie quality”, colours are deep, full of contrast and crisp detailn. The audio is also mastered in HD with deep bass and dynamic range.

CONCLUSION

I really enjoyed this Series with its many twists and turns a surprisingly mature and gritty ambiance that runs through from the story to story which I would say are at times deeply philosophical, smatterings of humour are well placed but my only concern (if you can call it that) is the nature and maturity of the storylines may polarise some people nevertheless this is bold step and a well-executed one. Highly Recommended


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Paul Isaacs: Living Through the Haze 2nd Edition Review By Dr. Manuel Casanova 

 

Paul Isaacs’ book, “Living Through the Haze”, has been published (second edition). The book has new content, a new introduction and an afterword that I wrote. Paul was diagnosed as autistic in 2010. As a child Paul was considered to be a “naughty child” with no prospects for a future. At present Paul is a lecturer, trainer and consultant who promotes autism awareness throughout the UK. In the following paragraphs I provide the afterword that I wrote for “Living Through the Haze”:

Many times during his life Paul felt confused and detached from his surroundings. His attention could only focus on one aspect of his sensory experience. He lived his life as if wearing blinders, and as such, he could not react adequately to what people asked of him at home, at school or at work. His perceptual style made him seem odd to his peers. Parents, teachers and peers objectivised and bullied him.  In the end the reader can only wonder, how did Paul survive?

For many autistic individuals the environment overwhelms their nervous system with information.  Seeing a face is like looking at the sun. Blinking, when looking at the sun, is a response aimed at avoiding damage to your eyes by allowing only a sliver of sunrays to hit your retina. In autistic individuals, allowing only a sliver of available information into your brain is meant to protect it from overstimulation. Overall, autistic individuals can’t see the forest for the trees and it is easy for them to become thoroughly engrossed in the details of a particular situation but miss the larger picture.

Paul grew up displaying many of the classical symptoms of autism. Unfortunately, as is the case for many autistic individuals, his diagnosis came late in life.  Still, he prospered and found fulfillment in being a speaker, counselor and in helping others like him. In this book Paul publicizes his own plight with some of the darker aspects of autism. Through no fault of his own Paul was misunderstood and relentlessly bullied by even those who were supposed to protect him.  The psychological and physical aggression that he suffered is at the crux of a mixed mood disorder that at times has greatly handicapped him.

So we can ask again, how did Paul survive? In a longitudinal study sponsored by the NIMH on so-called recovered autism, it seems that the most salient commonality for those that “recovered” was caring parents who were quick to act on behalf of their children.  Paul in this regard was blessed with caring supportive parents and grandparents. He also found solace and purpose in a special education camp outside of school, which he called the “Autism Base”. There he found others like him living within a spectrum of severities. More importantly, within the Autism Base he found comradely and a social sense of togetherness.

Paul has not forgotten the painful experiences of the past but has learned from them.  Indeed, the excuses provided by the teachers who failed him are indelibly marked in his memory. He has a keen power for introspection.  His ability to self-reflect is one of the reasons why I believe that there is undue emphasis in the Theory of Mind conceptualization of autism. Paul was always keenly aware of his mental state and on occasion provides privileged access to the mental state of his parents.

This is a must read book for parents with autistic kids, especially if they are attending mainstream schools. The book is also a valuable aid to teachers. It portrays in a no holds barred way the effects of intimidation and the behavioral manifestations of bullying. Finally, Paul provides many constructive comments and guidelines as to how to improve the school system and teaches by example the positives of a supportive role by parents.

Source: Paul Isaacs: Living Through the Haze


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Dr Who – The Invasion – DVD Review

 

This DVD is a 2-Disc Edition of The Invasion with two missing episodes which have been animated 

PLOT

The is an “Earth Story” and this would become a staple of the 3rd Doctor Era the title suggests the main plot of the story aliens that are preparing for a global invasion starting with the United Kingdom.

The main plot is an expansion on themes used in the Troughton “cyberstories” which includes the dangers of technology and how this has an effect on people, communication devices such as video links are used throughout preempting such devices that we take for granted now, as well as the political dangers of single force wanting to control the world. The cast are colourful, deep and imaginative with enigmatic performances, tight dialogue and atmosphere.

PICTURE 

The picture is sharp, detailed with a good deal of contrast and saturation although at times the picture is a tab soft probably due to age . I viewed this in HD upscaled 1080p 60 frames per second. Overall there is  higher clearer definition of picture quality.

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ANIMATED EPISODES

The animated episodes are well done with excellent attention to detail, sharp background contrasts, faithful character design and animation lends to the atmosphere of the serial in turns of camera direction which feels less cinematic and more faithful to how it would have looked and excellent job by Cosgrove Hall.

AUDIO

The audio is clear with few hisses and artifactual noise this is something that I have noted in Hartnell and Troughton era that attention by the Restoration Team is paid not only to the image but also the quality of sound which is of course is restricted by technology at the time.

CONCLUSION

This is really classic Troughton at its best a tight another tight endearing story by  Kit Pedler about technology, fabulous direction with stunning visuals and atmosphere, great memorable and enigmatic performances. One of my favorites.  Highly Recommended.

Paul Isaacs 2017