Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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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


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Dr Who – The Moonbase – DVD Review

 

 

This DVD is a The Moonbase with two missing episodes which have been animated 

PLOT

The plot revolves around the Doctor and his companions landing on the lunar surface were a complex weather station controls and maintains the weather of the entire world through gravitational pull. The cybermen are all but legend destroyed many years ago. However a mysterious illness is plaguing the base and eerie shadows reveal a familiar enemy.

The main plot deals with many interesting aspects of the future, a space station on the moon which is habitable, a weather station that controls and protects the people of earth and the jeopardy of this station failing mixed with whodunit esque subplot which brings both the Doctor and his companions into full and colourful characterisation.

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PICTURE 

The picture is sharp, detailed and well balanced with good colour saturation considering its age with. 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 good pathos and atmosphere which matches the feel of the other episodes, I would however say they went more for a cinematic feel in the terms of camera angles and shots which may divide fans. I enjoyed the visual renditions which do stay faithful to the overall character and set-pieces plus the cybermen look amazing and well detailed.

AUDIO

The audio is clear with a few artificial hisses and pops here and there overall a worthy and crisp audio considering its age dialogue is clear  as well as the nerve jangling and atmospheric score which is a treat to hear much like in in Tomb of the Cybermen.

CONCLUSION

With yet another gritty and ambitious story  and script by Kit Pedler about technology getting too advanced and going awry, fantastic set-pieces, sturdy characterisation of the main players and and interesting sub-plot this is Dr Who at its best. Highly Recommended.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Dr Who – Tomb of the Cybermen – Revisitations DVD Review

 

This DVD is a 2-disc Special Edition of Tomb of the Cybermen with upgraded video and audio as well as new special features.

PLOT

The plot is a dark and brooding entry for the infamous cybermen instilling a sense of dread as an expedition has found a dormant tomb that holds creatures from a distant past who are slumbering. The characterisation is at times dated but the overall composition of technology gone awry is potent in this story, human greed, selfishness and sacrifice are themes as the doctor who in his sage wisdom warns them of the dangers of tampering with technology that they do not understand. A metaphor in itself.

  

PICTURE 

The Revisitations DVD is a worthy upgrade from the earlier edition with a sharper picture, deeper colour saturation, minor enhancements to the images when the the title are overlaid is a worthy mention too. I viewed this in HD upscaled 1080p 60 frames per second. Overall there is  higher clearer definition of picture quality.

AUDIO

The audio is clear with a few artificial hisses and pops here and there overall a worthy and crisp audio considering its age dialogue is clear as well as the nerve jangling and atmospheric score which is a treat to hear.

CONCLUSION

With polished and ambitious story  and script by Kit Pedler with high tension and plenty of bite to a worthy video and audio upgrade as well as a host of extras this a must see for fans of classic Who. Recommended

Paul Isaacs 2017


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The Exorcist III – Film Review (1990)

OVERVIEW

This is the review of The Exorcist III Shout! Factory’s Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray

PLOT

The plot is set 15 years after the original movie The Exorcist and is set around two three key people from the original movies Lt Kinderman, Father Dyer and Father Karras and a another “The Gemini Killer” who was put in the electric chair the same night Karras fell to his death saving a young girl from possession.

The overall tone that Blatty sets is very different from the original. It is at times highly subversive and it plays very much like a supernatural thriller in terms of making the audience question many aspects of belief that a tied into the situational aspects of the plot which link both movies and it’s characters.

 

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PICTURE 

The picture compared to my old Warner Bros DVD Anthology release and the Warner Bros Blu-ray is a stunning 2k restoration by Shout! Factory  with vibrant flesh tones expanding on the details which are particular resonant in the dream sequence and cell scenes with deep colour saturation and limited grain.

AUDIO

The audio is clear and crisp with good dynamic range it has also been given an upgrade with a DTS HD audio in both 2.0 and 5.1 surround sound I choose the downmix and was very impressed by its range, depth and clarity.

CONCLUSION

Underated is what I think of The Exorcist III and at times rather deep and philosophical, dramatic and haunting it is a beautifully shot movie with a clever plot, stellar performances and real lingering sense of tension and suspense. Highly recommended

Paul Isaacs 2017