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

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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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Dr Who – Revisiting The 11th Doctor

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I have recently gone back into the world of Dr Who the infamous and bold alien time traveler – after David Tennant left the show it was oddly difficult as he brought our family together on Saturday evenings in way that had only happened with game and talk shows. Matt Smith was for the moment hard to digest like a biscuit that had not been drenched in a  warm cup of tea.

I have since grown on his bizarre idiosyncrasies, neologisms and endless quirks through contrasting storytelling arching and swaying, moving me to tears and making me laugh this certainly is a darker doctor akin to what Sylvestor Mccoy was trying to do (but the BBC and the audience didn’t understand) I am thankful to re-visit oddball Matt in more objective widing lense.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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The Thing (1982) Film Review

Image result for The Thing blu-rayOVERVIEW

The Thing is considered to be one of Carpenter’s best movies slammed by critics and misunderstood by audiences at the time, it is now revered as one of the best in science-fiction horror with a notable and impressive set-pieces, performances, special effects and a well-crafted paranoia sub-plot woven in.

PLOT

The plot starts off with a mystery an alien craft crashing into earth then it is 1982 and a helicopter is casing a dog trying to shoot it in the baron snow. Another outpost is seen yonder and the story movies on from there. The tension starts of quick when the dog settles into the camp.

Carpenter uses a clever use of inter-tension between the characters establishing that the camp is cut off from the rest of the world and that communications have been down for over 2 weeks this is a good starting point for finger pointing and the ultimate breakdown of the team in question.

When “The Thing” reveals itself each character acts in their “own way” no room for generic reactions nor generalisations this plot is people driven, and I think that is what makes this movie stand-out from other horror movies at the time these aren’t cardboard cut-outs. Subtle dark humour is also peppered throughout the movie breaking and reestablishing an aura of tension.

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SPECIAL EFFECTS 

The Special makeup effects were done by Rob Bottin who is well established in his own right for movies such as “Robocop” and “Total Recall” he uses a clever mix of puppetry, plastic resins, rubber and gloop to create a truly memorable shapeshifting alien.

This was helped no doubt by cinematographer Dean Cundey with its clever use of lightening and trick photography an amazing visual experience. I viewed this movie in HD (1080p 24fps) on Blu-ray by Shout! Factory Special 2k Edition. The picture was pristine, sharp and clear with colours thick and saturated well the main difference is the change in hue with bluish and purplish tones throughout which I think aids the movies environment.

CONCLUSION

This is a highly atmospheric well-crafted movie that which in many ways has it all going for it with a stellar cast, amazing and memorable effects and a well-crafted and executed plot. Highly Recommended


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Akira (1988) – Film Review

 

OVERVIEW

After a nuclear blast  in which the whole of Tokyo was all but destroyed the opening scene then fades into the present day in which biker gangs rule the streets, corrupt politicians rule the masses. Akira is one movie in the anime ranks which is “mainstream” by people’s general awareness.

The undercurrent is what is life? What does it mean? Who are “we”? These rather complex questions are employed into the overall narrative, lack of identity, lust for power and human condition of what is beyond the mortal realm of flesh and do you carry on?

PLOT

The main plot is around a teenage biker gang that rules the streets by night and goes to a rundown high school by day, they pop pills, drink alcohol and are generally annoyed with the society in which they live in. It is a grim stark future dominated by skyscrapers, neon lights, technological advancement but no soul.

The plot splinters from then on into areas of government control of the “Akira” project and also military crackdown on the people like “Akira” who have aged due to the countless drugs and tests that have been bestowed on them. One young man from the gang meet up of up with one of the “project” in an explosive collision and he begins to change, gaining powers and later melding with machinery.

Additional areas of exposition human relationships are revealed friendships, companionships, the seemingly eternal friction between teenagers identity and adult authority, the human condition of knowing “where you come from”. This is not merely a static anime movie that dishes at violence with no substance or meaning.

PICTURE & AUDIO

The picture quality is a stellar achievement from Manga the colours are rich, consistent, vibrant and detailed complementing the already high quality animation that is joy to watch. . The movie was viewed on a HD TV (1080p  24fps Blu-Ray Manga UK Relase)  this blows the DVD edition out of the water (but you may want to keep for the special features) the audio was clear, crisp with a amazing surround experience with depth, clarity, bass and of equal quality to the picture.

CONCLUSION

Akira is an amazing movie that captures the essence of the problems with the human condition, friction, ideals, governments and military force and the overall meaning of life itself, it deserves repeated viewing. The other aspect is the quality of animation being pre CGI the fluidity of something to behold and level of detail and clarity is complemented by an amazing high definition release by manga entertainment. High Recommended


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Tom Baker – The Fourth Doctor – Top 10 Stories

Tom Baker’s performance as the the Fourth incarnation of The Doctor is an impressive, quirky, odd idiosyncratic performance her is my person list of my favourite stories.

  1. Ark in Space
  2. Genesis of the Daleks
  3. Planet of Evil
  4. Pyramids Of Mars
  5. Hand of Fear
  6. The Deadly Assassin
  7. The Robots of Death
  8. The Leisure Hive
  9. The Keep of Traken
  10. Logopolis

Paul Isaacs 2015


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Ultraman – Japanese TV Series (1966-1967)

Ultraman Series 1966The kaiju movies on the big screen at this point in time are in full stride the Godzilla franchise firmly in place and the Gamera franchise just starting up – but on the small screen there were hidden gems like “Ultraman”.

OVERVIEW

Ultraman is alien from outer-space that gives his unique powers to a human being who is apart of a special team called the Science Special Search Party who are in effect defenders of the earth – this is series is set in the future (I believe in the 1990s).

ULTRAMAN 

Ultraman the character comes to life when the kaiju have the ability to grow large – the added aspect of tension is the fact that when Shin Hayata uses the “beta capsule” to become “Ultraman” he has only a set amount of time before his energy runs out this is narrated during the fight scenes as a reminder adding a sense of urgency to the battle and added layer of intensity.

The series itself has many parallels to other shows such as Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds and the Super Sentai Series the plot revolved around the team in each episode and other characters within the story – the overall genre is sciences fiction but it delves into fantasy, crime, mild horror and action some of the episodes are noticeably dark in tone while others are lighter. The are constant elements of humour also throughout the series.

It is balanced mix of the all the things stated above which interesting plots, well crafted kaiju and special effects it certainly keeps you watching.

Ultraman JirassSPECIAL EFFECTS 

For 1966 special effects for at TV series are well crafted, ambitious and certainly creative for the small budget that was applied  – I viewed the series in HD (standard def) Upscaled to full HD the colours are bright and the grainy imperfect quality to the picture actually goes in the series favour adding a layer of atmospheric grittiness.

CONCLUSION

Ultraman is a diverse imaginatively constructed and realised kaiju TV series with an interesting plot and likable character to ambitious special effects I highly recommend this.

Paul Isaacs 2015