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J.A.A. Purves

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About J.A.A. Purves

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

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    Santa Barbara, CA

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  1. 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 ...”
  2. 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.)
  3. J.A.A. Purves

    First Reformed

    As Kenneth notes below, Spoilers are in the trailer:
  4. (A&F threads for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Prince of Persia (2010), and Great Expectations (2012).)
  5. 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.”
  6. J.A.A. Purves

    Best Opening Paragraphs

    From Francis Spufford's Golden Hill:
  7. 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."
  8. 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).”
  9. J.A.A. Purves

    2018 Reading Journals

    January - Why Liberalism Failed (2018) - by Patrick J. Deneen - Waiting on the Word (2015) - by Malcolm Guite - Prince Caspian (1951) - by C.S. Lewis - The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods (1921) - by A.G. Sertillanges - Paris in the Present Tense (2017) - by Mark Helprin - Four Quartets (1943) - by T.S. Eliot February - Some Permanent Things (2014) - by James Matthew Wilson - Thomas Traherne: Poetry and Prose (1650s-1670s) - by Thomas Traherne - The Wit & Wisdom of Winston Churchill (1920s-1960s) - by Winston Churchill - A Country of Marriage: Poems (1973) - by Wendell Berry - The World of Silence (1948) - by Max Picard March - Leisure: The Basis of Culture (1948) - by Josef Pieper - Letters to a Diminished Church (2004) - by Dorothy L. Sayers - Liturgy and Personality (1933) - by Dietrich von Hildebrand - Tickets for a Prayer Wheel (1974) - by Annie Dillard - The Consolation of Philosophy (525) - by Boethius April - The Word in the Wilderness (2014) - by Malcolm Guite
  10. J.A.A. Purves

    The Lord's Prayer

    Absolutely agreed. Any liturgical prayer, poem, or song (even if spoken aloud in Greek or Latin) can still be explained to lay congregations so that they understand the meaning. The fact that a text may need to be explained is not an argument against the text itself being used in church or liturgical practice. This isn't even to mention the fact that rhythm and cadence for prayers (particularly for prayers designed to be spoken aloud communally) does matter, and pretending that it doesn't matter is more destructive (of beauty, of memorization, of music) than the revisers will admit. Meanwhile, Anthony Esolen just weighed in on the translation "lead us not into temptation" as being accurate from the Greek text:
  11. J.A.A. Purves

    The Lord's Prayer

    Someone could, of course, inform Pope Francis that the line has been changed and butchered over and over again by almost a century of modernized English translations. “And let us not be put to the test” (Bible in Basic English), “And do not lead us into hard testing” (Complete Jewish Bible), “Do not bring us to hard testing” (Good News Translation), “Don’t allow us to be tempted” (God’s Word Translation), “Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge!” (The Message Bible), “Keep us from falling into sin when we are tempted” (New International Reader’s Version), “And don’t let us yield to temptation” (New Living Translation), “And do not bring us to the time of trial” (New Revised Standard). The theological problems with some of the above, notwithstanding, The New Century Version is the one that gets it wrong in the sense the Pope complains of (“And do not cause us to be tempted”), which is not the same sense as “Lead us not into temptation.” “Lead us not into temptation” was never understood by the KJV/English Book of Common Prayer as implying that God causes temptation. See Matthew Poole’s 1660s Commentaries: “The term temptation in the general signifieth a trial, and is sometimes used to express God’s trials of his people’s faith and obedience, but most ordinarily to express Satan’s trials of us, by motions to sin; which may be from our own lusts, Jam 1:13,14; or from the devil, who is therefore called the tempter; or from the world. These are the temptations which we are commanded to pray against: not that God leads any persons into such temptations, unless by the permission of his providence.” In other words, praying “lead us not into temptation” is the same as praying “protect us from temptation” and it is understood as such by anyone who stops to think about it. Of course, the word “lead us” is also associated with a shepherd leading his flock (Psalm 23), so praying for Him not to lead us to temptation is asking for direction, whereas praying “help us to avoid times of trial” implies much more modern agency and has its own theological problems given that Christian theology does not necessarily direct Christians to avoid the world’s troubles or promise them that they may avoid trial. __________________________________________ See also: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” has been changed to “Do no bring us to the time of trial, but deliver us from evil.” Why? For the sake of clarity? (That is the usual answer.) I know, because every sense in my body informs me, and ever misinclination of my mind, what is temptation, from which we seek deliverance. But “the time of trial?” That sounds as if the Supreme Court is in session. - William F. Buckley, Jr., “His New Prayer,” November 17, 1977, Buckley: The Right Word, 1996, pg. 110 __________________________________________ Among other things, we aren't going to expect the current Pope to have an ear for the rhythms and poetry of old liturgical English.
  12. J.A.A. Purves

    The Breadwinner

    This film is absolutely beautiful. The visual imagery is gorgeous, not to mention the Persian art styles interlaced in the fairy tale story within a story. Not only does the film offer a very strong young female character (among other strong woman characters), but she is believable, vulnerable, and feels real in ways that even the recent self-assured independent Disney princesses have not been. The main story and the fairy tale story are both haunting, and they mesh together with a wallop with an ending that is revealing of deeper tragedy and redemptive at the same time. My wife and I loved it. If she's not careful, Ms. Twomey is going to start taking various awards away from Pixar.
  13. This is still a work in progress, so let me know what else any of you would add from published books for this year - https://underlyingassumptions.org/2017-books-to-read/