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J.A.A. Purves

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About J.A.A. Purves

  • Rank
    Thomist, Traditionalist, Chestertonian
  • Birthday 02/12/1980

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    https://underlyingassumptions.org/

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    Male
  • Location
    Santa Barbara, CA

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    law

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  1. J.A.A. Purves

    Examples of "Cinematic Parables"?

    The Adjustment Bureau Ruby Sparks Dogville Certified Copy Children of Men Hail, Caesar! Éric Rohmer's Six Moral Tales
  2. J.A.A. Purves

    Top 25 or 100 for 2018-19

    I'm still here and am checking in every week. If enough participants desire to update the Top 100 list, I'd recommend: 1) First and foremost, re-establishing Arts & Faith's contact with Image: Assuming Image is still going to publish what we produce here, we'll need a contact person there who can familiarize him- or herself with how Arts & Faith's lists, voting, polls, and film & voter ranking calculations all work. 2) Selecting someone with the ability to lead and organize the process: I can personally testify that this would be a significant time commitment. While I can actively participate, I know I would not have the time right now to lead and organize it. 3) Obtaining a satisfactory minimum number of participants who would commit to working on this: I second Andrew and Christian on that. 4) Creating a reasonable timeline: I'd give an update to the Top 100 list more time to put together than we've given the Top 25 lists, and I know the only way many of us could participate in this is if we place goals and dates on the calendar that we can plan and allocate time for. See also our December 2016 discussion.
  3. J.A.A. Purves

    Ready Player One

    If you read anything else about Ready Player One, read this essay - From Palmer Rampell at The Los Angeles Review of Books, May 3, 2018: “The New Yorker critic Pauline Kael wondered rhetorically while being interviewed in 1985. ‘One hates to say it comes down to the success of Steven Spielberg, but…’ She left a pregnant pause. For critics like Kael, Spielberg, along with George Lucas and others, shifted the production model in Hollywood away from introspective low-budget pictures helmed by auteurs — like Bonnie and Clyde and Easy Rider (the so-called Hollywood Renaissance) — to blockbuster productions with ever-proliferating sequels and extensive advertising campaigns. Spielberg’s critics insist that his blockbusters are ‘infantilizing’ or even ‘totalitarian’ in their unreflectiveness and focus on spectacle. At the same time, the popularity of the blockbuster has enabled Spielberg to become the highest grossing director of all time, personally worth $3.6 billion. And while Spielberg began as a countercultural auteur, or so the legend goes, there is also good evidence to suggest that he was sanguine about corporate production from early in his career. Like Halliday and, one day, Wade, his obvious doubles, Spielberg is a multibillion-dollar creator of artworks for the masses, and the battle in the film between Wade and Sorrento is a battle over the legacy of the cultural meaning of the 1980s, the nature of corporate productions, and by extension Spielberg’s oeuvre. Was the culture of the ’80s all just for profit and in bad taste, with Sorrento as its true heir, or, following Wade, can we find something redemptive underneath the shoulder pads, hoop earrings, and acid-washed jeans? ... Once we see that Spielberg is pointing to the intertwined visions of director and corporation, Ready Player One looks like a celebration of one corporation in particular — Warners — and of the corporate vision — the vertically integrated multimedia conglomerate — that has underpinned it for the past 50 years. The media conglomerates of the 1970s and ’80s could underwrite the Hollywood blockbuster’s high risk and high reward because they had diversified their holdings by investing in a number of different industries: film, television, video games, et cetera ... What would it mean to read the film as celebrating not just Spielberg but also Warners’ culture, to think of the film not only as Spielberg’s creation but also as Warners’ advancement of a particular agenda at this moment in time? One obvious answer is that Ready Player One promotes virtual reality as a medium for the masses, a potential boon to both Time Warner and Spielberg, who have invested in virtual reality technologies as the next multimedia frontier ... But ironically, in its frequent allusions to Warners’ productions, Ready Player One cannot help but reveal the gap between its celebration of the free and open distribution of content and the studios’ actual practice of covetously guarding their intellectual property. To paraphrase Henry Ford a bit, users of the OASIS can explore any IP that they want — so long as it belongs to Warners. Users can generate their own content, but perhaps the most notable example of user-generated content is Wade’s friend Aech’s massive recreation of the Iron Giant. Her creative imagination has been thoroughly colonized by Warners’ IP, which AT&T plans to release to its consumers in similarly customizable experiences. The OASIS is thus exactly what many reasonably fear AT&T envisions as the future of the internet: a putatively free internet that is dominated by Time Warner’s content. While, to Spielberg, the Golden Egg may refer to the quality of the art produced under corporate supervision, to Time Warner and AT&T, a golden egg refers to the monetary value of the associated goose. In fact, AT&T has described its premium satellite and cable subscribers as precisely that: ‘a golden goose,’ by which they mean a reliable source of revenue.”
  4. J.A.A. Purves

    Monsters and Men (2018)

    From Richard Lawson at Vanity Fair: “This is not an intense annals-of-power thriller, though. It’s instead a quiet look at a personal moral quandary that has no easy answers, a conflict Green illustrates with sensitivity. Though all three sections of the film have didactic bits when big ideas are plainly stated, the bulk of Monsters and Men renders huge issues with a fluid understatement. But that disarming pensiveness and interiority doesn’t forget the anger and sadness of the story—instead, it somehow heightens it, affording these characters a grounded texture that casts their struggles in a piercingly humane light ... The film is gorgeously staged, cinematographer Patrick Scola’s camera gliding and reeling, Kris Bowers’s dreamy score playing as both plaint and prayer. The performances are uniformly gripping, with Ramos, Washington, and Harrison Jr. the standouts, if only because they have the most to do. (Beharie remains as welcome here—sharp, natural, incisive—as she is in everything. Please put her in everything?) There’s an argument to be made that Monsters and Men is too tasteful for such seismically important, infuriating topics; perhaps the film dulls its stakes with all its lilting aesthetics. As I see it, though, Green’s melancholy reserve articulates something vital and heartbreaking. Alongside all the clamor and fury of this necessary outrage, there is also the everyday ache of these lives, infected and shaped by racism and its destructive ends, yet still possessed of precious everyday joys, hard won and tenuous as they might be.”
  5. J.A.A. Purves

    The Yellow Birds

  6. J.A.A. Purves

    A Quiet Place

    Bishop Robert Barron, “The Most Unexpectedly Religious Film of the Year,” April 10, 2018: “We flash-forward several months later, and we watch the Abbots (can the name have possibly been accidental?) going about their lives in what could only be characterized as a monastic manner: no conversations above a whisper, elaborate sign language, quiet work at books and in the fields, silent but obviously fervent prayer before the evening meal, etc. (I will confess that this last gesture, so thoroughly absent from movies and television today, startled me.) Given the awful demands of the moment, any gadgets, machines, electronic entertainment, or noisy implements are out of the question. Their farming is by hand; their fishing is done with pre-modern equipment; even their walking about is done barefoot. And what is most marvelous to behold is that, in this prayerful, quiet, pre-modern atmosphere, even with the threat of imminent death constantly looming, a generous and mutually self-sacrificing family flourishes. The parents care for and protect their children, and the remaining brother and sister are solicitous toward one another and toward their parents ... The central drama of 'A Quiet Place' is that Mrs. Abbott is expecting a child. The entire family realizes, of course, that a wailing infant would, given the circumstances, mean almost certain death for all of them. And yet, they decide not to kill the child at his birth but to hide him and mute his cries in various ways. When so many in our culture are willing to murder their children for the flimsiest of reasons, when the law gives full protection even to partial-birth abortion, when people blithely say that they would never bring a baby into such a terrible world, the monastic family in this film welcomes life, even into the worst of worlds, and even when such an act is of supreme danger to them. As the baby is coming into the light, the mother finds herself alone (watch the film for the details) and in the most vulnerable situation, for one of the beasts has made its way into their house. As she labors to give birth, the devouring animal lurks. I was put immediately in mind of the scene in the book of Revelation, where Mary is in the throes of child birth as the dragon patiently waits to consume the child ...”
  7. J.A.A. Purves

    Thy Kingdom Come (2018)

    (A&F threads for Badlands (1973), Days of Heaven (1978), The Thin Red Line (1998), The New World (2005), The Tree of Life (2011), To the Wonder (2012), Knight of Cups (2015), Voyage of Time (2016), Song to Song (2017), and Radegund.)
  8. J.A.A. Purves

    First Reformed

    As Kenneth notes below, Spoilers are in the trailer:
  9. (A&F threads for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Prince of Persia (2010), and Great Expectations (2012).)
  10. J.A.A. Purves

    The Guardians (2017)

    (A&F thread for Of Gods and Men (2010).) Linda Marric, HeyUGuys.com: “Director Xavier Beauvois (Of Gods and Men, 2010) is back again with a beautifully crafted production which tells the story of the women left behind in rural France after the of the majority of men of fighting-age were conscripted to fight in WWI. The Guardians (Les Gardiennes), takes a contemplative, slow paced look at the great war from the perspective of those whose stories are seldom told. Cannes Grand Prix winner Beauvois, offers a simply told and beautifully conveyed account of the devastating events which will eventually lead the way to the emancipation of women throughout Europe. Basing most of the action away from the battle ground, the director offers an alternative war movie, one where the fight takes place at home rather than on the battle field. Adapted from Ernest Perochon’s 1944 novel, The Guardians spans two years in the lives of the women who inhabit Le Paridier, a family owned working farm run by Hortense (Natalie Baye), a resilient matriarch trying to make ends meet in the absence of her two sons and husband. While her daughter Solange (Laura Smet) does her part in running the farm in the absence of husband Clovis (Olivier Rabourdin), Hortence has to also make do without her school teacher son Constant (Nicolas Giraud), and his younger brother George (Cyril Descours) … With long mournful scenes and slow meandering shots, the director forgoes the need for artifice in favour of natural storytelling and beautifully sedate exchanges between his characters. Baye is magnificent as Hortence, her quiet resolve and resilience are depicted with huge expertise and panache. The Guardians is a stunning production, which while not being entirely without fault, still manages to thrill and move its audience beyond all expectation. Beauvois is faultless in his ability to recreate the past, down to the last thread of every costume and every piece of equipment used on the farm. A genuinely astounding piece of filmmaking which is as beautiful as it is essential.”
  11. J.A.A. Purves

    Best Opening Paragraphs

    From Francis Spufford's Golden Hill:
  12. J.A.A. Purves

    Ready Player One

    So, is Alissa Wilkinson the only film reviewer out there asking these questions?: "But about three-quarters of the way into the movie, I started to feel extremely uncomfortable, and that discomfort only increased as the movie skidded toward its conclusion. The movie was asking me to root for the heroes — but I wanted nothing more than for them to fail in their quest. And while that could work in a satirical film, Ready Player One is far from satirical. On the contrary, it seemed blithely unaware of how disturbing it was. Ready Player One is set in a dystopian future. But it seems to have no idea how dystopian it really is. The year is 2045, and the world has gone to shit. It’s gotten so bad that most people prefer to spend their time in a massive video game called the OASIS, where they engage as characters in various worlds and collect coin, the in-game currency. We learn all this in voiceover from Wade (Tye Sheridan), a teenage orphan who lives with his aunt in a trailer park and plays in the OASIS as an avatar called Parzival. Wade loves the OASIS. It’s where he’s met his friends and where he spends his days. And no wonder — the real world is a wreck, and everyone in it spends all their time in the OASIS too ... An early shot in the movie pans across the trailer park where Wade lives, trailers stacked high. Inside each trailer is a person wearing VR goggles and looking kind of ridiculous, because they are in the OASIS, playing games or fighting or whatever. It’s one of the more frightening things I’ve ever seen in a movie, largely because it’s only a few notches past the world we inhabit now. It’s like a scene from Black Mirror: a world of people so distracted by their shiny technology that they have entirely neglected the stuff of human life. They’d rather just escape into another world, created by a couple of programmers. To me, that seems transparently dystopian — not that the world is bad, but that nobody cares anymore about fixing it ... There’s no sense in the film that anyone really should be paying attention to what’s brought their civilization to this place. (Which, for all its described evils, still has the wealth and technology available to deliver piping hot pizzas via drones.) It sounds overly pedantic to say this, and it probably is, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what was going on in the world outside the OASIS. Were people starving? Or fearing for their lives? Can everyone afford to have headsets, or does this neglected world include people who have to live in the dystopic ruins without escape? What kind of unrest has driven them into this dystopic state? And why doesn’t anyone think it can be fixed? Isn’t it horrifying that they’ve just left it all behind altogether? This would be some pretty salient Black Mirror-style warning about technology and bad social systems if it were just left there. The solution would be to see the OASIS destroyed so that people are plunged back into the real world and resolve to change it. But Ready Player One presents itself as a story about a gang of brave, scrappy heroes who are motivated to save the world — but only the virtual world, the one that keeps them from engaging with what’s really going on in the physical world. And the movie applauds this. It very obviously wants us to cheer for our heroes as they try to save the OASIS from destruction. I sat watching this all unfold, disturbed by the implication here: that we out in the audience are supposed to be on the side of escape. In fact, we are on its side, engaging in a movie that functions as an escapist fantasy itself."
  13. J.A.A. Purves

    Fahrenheit 451 (2018)

    Den of Geek, January 11, 2018: “Fahrenheit 451 is one of the seminal dystopian works in all of fiction. Ray Bradbury's classic work is disturbing and increasingly prescient sci-fi. In the 1953 novel, released during the peak of the McCarthy era panic, books are outlawed and ‘firemen’ go around to make sure that they go up in smoke, lest any unapproved ideas make their way out into the world. Ramin Bahrani and Amir Naderi are adapting Bradbury's book, and Bahrani will direct. The timing, of course, as we find ourselves on the receiving end of an increasingly bizarre parade of "alternative facts" couldn't be more appropriate. In the unlikely event that the words HBO and Fahrenheit 451 in close proximity to each other aren't enough to get you excited, perhaps the cast will. Michael B. Jordan will play Guy Montag, the young fireman who starts to realize that maybe he's in the wrong line of work. HBO veteran Michael Shannon will play Captain Beatty, Montag's commanding officer at the fire department.The Mummy's Sofia Boutella has joined the cast as Clarisse McClellan (via THR).”
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