In the documentary, Chris Packham, Aspergers and Me broadcast yesterday on the BBC, Chris Packham, an Ambassador for the National Autistic Society, gives a deeply personal insight into his life from childhood to the present. He discusses being autistic and what that means for him, including his heightened sensory experiences and how that has influenced his life. Within the documentary Chris travels to America where he looks at different therapies including ABA as well as meeting others, including Steve Silberman, who are challenging the idea that autistic people need to change in order to fit into society. Chris concludes ‘we need to understand autistic people better and not try to change them’.
As awareness of autism grows, so does its prevalence in popular culture. People on all parts of the autism spectrum are starring in mainstream television shows, movies and novels.
One of the latest is an adventure story about a boy with autism, which is made its appearance in a popular comic book.
DC Comics released Batman 80-Page Giant 2011, a book of short stories about the infamous dark knight. In one of them, a young boy with autism reaches a developmental milestone after reading his comic book (and helping Batman spar with a zombie super villain).
“One Lock, Many Keys” focuses on a child with autism named “Lucas” immersed in the pages of his comics as his parents argue over whether or not he should be reading them. As they leave his room Lucas claps his hands and mutters to himself, a reaction recognizable as autistic.
He crawls into bed just as something rushes past his window. Climbing onto the fire escape, he gets caught in a battle between the Batman and the hulking, zombie super villain Solomon Grundy.
Caramagna (writer) leaves the ending open to interpretation as to whether the encounter was real or played out in Lucas’ imagination, but in the final panels of the comic, the boy’s parents are delighted when he has achieved a new developmental milestone.
Many boys, at one point or another, get obsessed with a comic book series (as the big blockbuster movies from the last couple of years attest). The story’s author, Joe Caramagna, has a family member with autism and told a reporter that comics can encourage creativity, especially in children with the disorder.
Many people with autism say they learn best through visual storytelling, and some scientific reports make the controversial claim that the disorder leads to enhanced visual perception. The graphic format of a comic book, then, might be especially appealing for a child with autism.
The way comics strip down complicated emotions into discrete blocks and simple, direct language (“Holy Smokes, Batman!” “KA-POW!”) may also help children who struggle to understand social situations.
Without knowing that cartooning is already widely used to help children on the spectrum learn about emotions, Mr. Caramagna has created a sensitive, inspiring and thrilling story involving autism. This is the first time a Batman story has dealt with autism since the inception of the series in 1939.
Yesterday my carer (support worker) and I saw Power Rangers together. I loved this movie it wasn’t as cheesy as i thought it would be. I remembered power rangers as a child starting to get more and more cheesy.
BODY LANGUAGE AND FACIAL EXPRESSION AND EMOTIONS
If you are Autistic like me and you find reading the emotion and understanding what the characters are feeling well don’t be put off. This movie in my opinion isn’t hard to read the characters feeling.
Look for themes of teen issues, bullying those with disabilities, peer pressure, the power of team, duty to a cause, self-sacrifice, and testing your limits.
AUTISTIC CHARACTER: – Yes
Here is what the actor had to say about his role.
“I just wanted to show a different, like, viewpoint of people that are seen as being on the spectrum, right? Or people diagnosed with autism, ’cause it’s like I feel like us being outsiders looking in and I take that, I cast my own stone when I say that, ’cause there’s a lot that I didn’t know before,”
‘Power Rangers’ is the third big screen attempt and a more grown up affair than the previous two. While the TV show can still be seen on channels devoted to programming for young children, the content here may not be what parents expect (or want) their kids to be exposed to. The target audience is firmly set towards adult fans who have grown up with the franchise.
Unfortunately, in its attempt to be ‘gritty’, and its desperation for mass appeal, ‘Power Rangers’ seems to have forgotten that its target audience is young children. Instead, an offensively crass movie has been created. With the exception of the kind-hearted autistic boy, Billy Cranston, the new Power Rangers are virtually impossible to warm to. The unrepentant Jason’s irresponsible behaviour causes a car accident, and Zack’s repeated harassment of fellow Ranger, Trini, despite her repeated rebuttals (his favourite term of endearment for her being ‘crazy girl’ simply because he spies her doing a bit of yoga in the morning) are just two examples.
‘Power Rangers’ biggest problem is a lack of skill in trying to drag up the concept from child-centric origins. So an attempt to cover the very real problem of cyberbullying and using private intimate photos for ‘revenge’ becomes a hamfisted joke, failing to address any concerns with no-one learning from the experience. An obligatory teen girl lesbian cliché that feels clunked in by tortured writing to tick a box rather than for any plot depth. A contrived ‘bonding scene’ is so disingenuous that pages of the script could instead have been thrown roughshod at the screen, as that would be far more enjoyable to watch. ‘Power Rangers’ wants a piece of the teen angst market instead of enjoying its own overblown cartoony concept.
While it may be appealing to some teenagers and adults who want a nostalgia trip, ‘Power Rangers’ is anything but a kids’ movie. Lots of swearing, sexual references and protagonists who make poor role models make it something that’s very unpleasant to watch and is bound to offend most parents, especially those who are watching with children, expecting a fun and exciting children’s film.
With kids around the world excitedly awaiting a new movie for their beloved ‘Power Rangers’, parents will be quick to take them under the assumption that a kids’ brand with lead to a kids’ film. Unfortunately this movie is anything but child-friendly and families are bound to be disappointed, if not down-right offended, by what they are watching. Having a lot of bad language, less-than-subtle sexual references and protagonists who make terrible choices with little to no consequences, we strongly recommend this movie for over twelves.
- Violence: 3/5 (a character is tied to a wall and a magical staff is held against his neck, he gasps in pain and his eyes roll back, black veins appear on his neck and face. This lasts for around ten seconds. A man is tied to a chair and used as bait, when some characters approach to help him, an antagonist is waiting above the man, jumping and smashing into him; it is likely that he has been killed. During a training montage, a girl kicks a rock monster in the groin, causing it to groan in pain)
- Emotional Distress: 2/5 (an established character is killed when they are dropped into water while tied up. Other characters become distressed and their body is respectfully and poignantly carried to a place where they may be able to be saved. A character becomes upset when talking about their sick mother, they are reluctant to spend much time at home because they know there will be a time when she is gone)
- Fear Factor: 3/5 (Rita is a very scary villain, her decomposing body that comes to life and there are numerous close-ups of her face as she snarls, wide-eyed at the camera. When the teens first find the spaceship where they will find out their destiny, it is initially spooky especially when the walls start to move and trap them inside, one is grabbed by the foot, they scream as they are dragged along the floor by an unseen character)
- Sexual Content: 3/5 (as well as the scenes above, there is also a character watching a young woman undress from a distance. She takes off her top and is seen in her bra, as well as her bare legs up to the hips)
- Bad Language: 4/5 (constant cursing and moderate bad language. One character exclaims ‘holy shhhhi’ before being cut off. One character in excitement yells the ‘Die Hard’ catchphrase ‘Yippie ki yay mother…’ before stopping himself and feeling guilty)
- Dialogue: 2/5 (verbal threats, bullying and peer pressure are recurring issues. One mother demands that her daughter ‘pee in a cup’, implying drug use)
I was told this was all about a child with autism and was pleased to see it was an autistic girl as mostly its always boys that are shown on tv and movies.
The subject of autism is clearly dear to Janet Grillo’s heart. The mother of a child on the autistic spectrum, the filmmaker has previously dealt with the topic in the Emmy Award-winning Autism: The Musical, which she executive produced, and her feature directorial debut, 2011’s Fly Away. Now, in collaboration with screenwriter/co-producer Jennifer Deaton (the aunt of an autistic child herself), Grillo delivers the moving drama Jack of the Red Hearts.
Cannily aware that audiences may be resistant to the subject matter, the film adds some mild suspense to the mix. The central character is teenager Jack (AnnaSophia Robb), a tough, runaway orphan who, in a desperate attempt to raise money to care for her younger sister Coke (Sophia Anne Caruso), brazenly talks herself into a job as a caregiver for Glory (Taylor Richardson), a severely autistic 11-year-old girl.
Assuming the identity of a therapist named Donna, Jack is hired by Glory’s beleaguered parents, Kay (Famke Janssen) and Scott (Scott Cohen), whose relationship is beginning to fray under the pressure. Kay is particularly thrilled to have the help, since she’s had to sacrifice her career to care for her child. Less welcoming is Glory’s older brother Robert (Israel Broussard), although he can’t help but be excited about the new caregiver’s hotness.
Not surprisingly, “Donna” has more than a few awkward moments dealing with her charge, but her quick thinking and street smarts rescue her from myriad mistakes. She begins to warm to the assignment, getting some tips from watching the film The Miracle Worker, and embarks on a tentative romance with Robert. She also finds herself bonding with Glory, who, despite such occasional lapses as wandering off to her favorite park, starts showing signs of improvement.
The story moves along in fairly predictable beats, including the inevitable denouement in which Jack’s deception is exposed. But it’s effective nonetheless, thanks to the authentic-feeling depiction of the physical and emotional toll of caring for an autistic child. We also get an illuminating insight into the latter’s perspective via several sequences shot from Glory’s POV.
And the filmmakers seem to relish the opportunity to puncture some common myths about autism, such as the notion that everyone with the condition is an idiot savant. When Jack/Donna innocently asks Kay if her daughter is a math whiz, Kay wearily responds, “She’s not Rain Man.”
The performances are first-rate. Robb makes her character’s unlikely deception believable and even sympathetic; Janssen and Cohen easily evoke empathy as the desperate parents; and Richardson (currently playing a similar role in the off-Broadway play Smokefall) renders Glory’s challenges with precise believability.
REVIEW – WAR OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
The final episode in a prequel trilogy to the 1960s-70s original series, ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ is another stunningly realised science fiction drama which is for the most part every bit as impressive as the previous two films in the revived series, and brings things to a fitting and satisfying conclusion.
The effects work is seamless, and the title characters are convincing both as apes and as distinct personalities with inner lives and conflicts. Director Matt Reeves handles the action set pieces with confidence, and Andy Serkis gives perhaps an even better performance this time, as Caesar has more of a character arc – although Steve Zahn almost steals the film from him as the touching and hilarious ‘Bad Ape’.
The story dovetails neatly with the original films and presents a mostly convincing look at a world ravaged by disease and almost entirely abandoned to the elements and animals. In spite of the title there is perhaps less action in this film than in the previous episode, ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’, but this leaves more room for introspection and character development.
One downside is the length: a fairly simple linear story is stretched to two hours and twenty minutes (it could easily have been cut to two hours), and the middle section of the film seems to drag on forever. Reeves’ efforts to imbue the movie with a sense of gravitas and conclusion is fine, but some individual scenes hang around for far longer than is necessary, with repetition and lingeringly held close-ups long after the point of the scene has been made. And there are some weird lapses in logic that break the spell somewhat, such as characters have sign language conversations without actually looking at each other; one character infiltrating the baddies’ base without being seen despite walking across wide open spaces; and the fact that at key moments the soldiers suddenly lose the ability to shoot straight at point-blank range!
But otherwise this is an exciting and emotionally satisfying war drama with a refreshingly upbeat ending that does justice to a series worked hard to be more than just digging up an old franchise and, much like the simians themselves, battled beyond simply aping the previous efforts roots and evolved into a separate and distinct identity to be proud of.
War for the Planet of the Apes is a dark and at times violent drama, with numerous scenes of shown or implied suffering. But it’s also a powerful drama with moments of levity and even humour, and the ending implies a much brighter future than the dark and desperate times shown in the rest of the film. However, due to the tension and extent of the fighting and death on-screen we would recommend that this movie is suitable only for children aged 10 and over.
- Violence: 3/5 (regular scenes of battle and both large-scale and intimate scenes of violence and physical torture.)
- Emotional Distress: 3/5 (characters are shown distressed at witnessing the suffering or death of friends and family)
- Fear Factor: 2/5 (high tension and peril throughout)
- Sexual Content: 0/5 (no sexual references)
- Bad Language: 1/5 (a couple of moderate curse words)
- Dialogue: 2/5 (verbal references to murder, genocide and disease)
- Other notes: (deals with themes of martyrdom and sacrifice, genocide and war)
On Twitter certain people tweet about not like Zachary Levi as the host for this years Syfy live from comic con.The tweets had Zachary Levi name tagged so he saw them.
So he continued to tweet to let his fans know his thoughts
At first i was sad for Zachary but he seem to take it well