George Mccartney

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Artless Imitations

Artless Imitations

The Importance of Being Earnest
Produced and distributed by Miramax Films
Directed by Oliver Parker
Screenplay by Oliver Parker from Oscar Wilde’s play

The Sum of All Fears
Produced and distributed by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Phil Alden Robinson

Bitten and Smitten

Bitten and Smitten

Produced and distributed by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Sam Raimi
Screenplay by David Koepp

Y Tu Mamá También
Produced by Besame Mucho Productions
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Screenplay by Alfonso and Carlos Cuarón
Released by Twentieth Century Fox



Beat the Clock

The Rookie
Produced by Walt Disney Pictures and 98 MPH Productions 
Directed by John Lee Hancock 
Screenplay by Mike Rich 
Released by Buena Vista and Walt Disney Pictures 

Produced by Nickelodeon Movies
Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Screenplay by Rob


Belief Suspended

The Time Machine
Produced and distributed by DreamWorks and Warner Bros.
Directed by Simon Wells
Screenplay by John Logan from a novel by H.G. Wells

Monster’s Ball
Produced by Lee Daniels and Mark Urman
Directed by Marc Forster
Screenplay by


Love, War, and Other Misunderstandings

In the Bedroom
Produced by Good Machine and GreeneStreet Films Inc.
Directed by Todd Field
Screenplay by Robert Festinger from a story by Andre Dubus
Released by Good Machine and Miramax Films

Blackhawk Down
Produced by Columbia Pictures Corporation and


Moral Impressionism

Vanilla Sky
Produced by Cruise-Wagner Productions
Directed by Cameron Crowe
Screenplay by Cameron Crowe, based on Abre Los Ojos
Released by Dreamworks and Paramount Pictures

In Vanilla Sky, director Cameron Crowe and producer/actor Tom Cruise have created an American

Transcendence, Anyone?

Transcendence, Anyone?

The Man Who Wasn’t There
Produced by Working Title Films
Directed by Joel Coen
Screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen
Released by USA Films

2001: A Space Odyssey
Produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Screenplay by Arthur C. Clarke

False Redeemers

False Redeemers

The Last Castle
Produced and distributed by DreamWorks
Directed by Rod Lurie
Screenplay by David Scarpa

Training Day
Produced by Outlaw Productions
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Screenplay by David Ayer
Released by Warner Bros.

American film would be poorer without


Something Both Brighter and Darker

Doing Hearts in Atlantis
Produced by Castle Rock Entertainment
Directed by Scott Hicks
Screenplay by William Goldman from Stephen King’s novel
Released by Warner Brothers

I went to see director Scott Hicks’ Hearts in Atlantis not having read the Stephen


A Voice in the Darkness

Apocalypse Now Redux
Produced by Producer Zoetrope Studios
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Screenplay by John Milius and Francis Ford Coppola
Re-released by Miramax Films and United Artists

I was finishing the original draft of this column early on the

The School of Savagery

The School of Savagery

Planet of the Apes
Produced and distributed by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Tim Burton
Screenplay by William Broyles, Jr., from Pierre Boulle’s novel

Ghost World
Produced by Capitol Films, United Artists, and John Malkovich
Directed by Terry Zwigoff

So What’s a Metaphor?

So What’s a Metaphor?

A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Produced by DreamWorks and Warner Bros.
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Screenplay by Ian Watson, based on a story by Brian Aldiss Released by Warner Bros.

Sexy Beast
Produced by Channel Four Films and Recorded Pictures Company


History Lite

Pearl Harbor
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Touchstone Pictures
Directed by Michael Bay
Screenplay by Randall Wallace
Released by Buena Vista Pictures

A Knight’s Tale
Produced by Columbia Pictures Corporation and Escape Artists
Written and Directed by Brian Helgeland


Resurrecting the Third Man

The Third Man
Produced by Alexander Korda and David O. Selznick
Directed by Carol Reed
Screenplay by Graham Greene
Released by London Films
Re-released by Rialto Pictures

Forget the Dark Side. Darth Sidious? No more convincing than Bela Lugosi flitting

Becoming George Orwell

Becoming George Orwell

        “The best guesser is the best prophet.”
—Greek Proverb

George Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair in 1903 in Motihari, India, where his father worked for the Indian Civil Service as a sub-deputy opium agent in charge of manufacturing the


Fearful Symmetry

The Tailor of Panama
Produced by John le Carré, John Boorman, and Kevan Barker with Columbia Pictures
Directed by John Boorman
Screenplay by John le Carré, John Boorman, and Andrew Davies
Released by Columbia Pictures

One of my favorite films


Dinner Is Served

Produced and Distributed by Dino De Laurentiis and MGM Studios
Directed by Ridley Scott
Screenplay by David Mamet and Steven Zaillian from the novel by Thomas Harris

Last Resort
Produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation
Directed by Paul Pavlikovsky


Moments, Redeeming and Otherwise

Produced by Columbia Pictures
Directed and Written by Guy Ritchie
Released by Sony Pictures

Shadow of the Vampire
Produced by Saturn Films
Directed by E. Elias Merhige
Screenplay by Steven Katz
Released by Lion Gate Films

Thirteen Days



O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Produced by Buena Vista Pictures and Touchstone Pictures
Directed by Joel Coen
Screenplay by Ethan Coen with help from Homer
Released by Buena Vista Pictures

All the Pretty Horses
Produced by Columbia Pictures and Miramax

Accidental Heroes, Ordinary Tragedies

Accidental Heroes, Ordinary Tragedies

Produced by Touchstone and Blinding Edge Pictures
Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Released by Buena Vista Pictures

You Can Count on Me
Produced by Cappa Production and The Shooting Gallery
Written and Directed by Ken Lonergan


Details, Details

Dancer in the Dark
Produced by AV-Fund Norway, Arte France Cinéma,
and the Danish Film Institute
Directed and written by Lars von Frier
Distributed by Fine Line Features

The Contender
Produced by Battleground Productions
Directed and written by Rod Lurie


Sentiment and Sentimentality

Nurse Betty
Produced by Gramercy Pictures and Propaganda Films
Directed by Neil LaBute
Screenplay by John C. Richards and James Flamberg
Distributed by USA Films

Almost Famous
Produced by DreamWorks and Vinyl Films
Directed and written by Cameron Crowe


Making Choices, Taking Chances

The Girl on the Bridge (La Fille sur le pont)
Produced by Films Christian Fechner and France 2 Cinéma
Directed by Patrice Leconte
Screenplay by Serge Frydman
Released by Paramount Pictures

Saving Grace
Produced by Homerun Productions and

Frankenstein’s Children

Frankenstein’s Children

“Monstrum horrendum, informe ingens.”
—Vergil, Aeneid

In 1974, I first encountered one of the creatures E. Michael Jones writes about in Monsters From the Id. It appeared in the guise of one of my graduate-school classmates. She was a


The Best Reality Money Can Buy?

The Perfect Storm
Produced by Baltimore Spring Creek and Warner Bros.
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
Screenplay by William D. Wittliff, based on Sebastian Junger’s book
Released by Warner Bros.

The Patriot
Produced by Centropolis Entertainment and Mutual Film Company


Season Your Admiration

Mission: Impossible 2
Produced by Cruise-Wagner Productions and Paramount Pictures
Directed by John Woo
Screenplay by Robert Towne
Released by Paramount Pictures

Produced by Double A Films
Directed by Michael Almereyda
Screenplay by Michael Almereyda, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet


We, Who Are Always About to Die

Produced by DreamWorks
Directed by Ridley Scott
Screenplay by David H. Franzoni and John Logan
Released by MCA/Universal Pictures

Produced by New Line Cinema
Directed by Gregory Hoblit
Screenplay by Toby Emmerich
Released by New Line Cinema



Observing American Decencies

Joe Gould’s Secret
Produced by First Cold Press and October Films
Directed by Stanley Tucci
Screenplay by Howard A. Rodman, from an article by Joseph Mitchell
Released by October Films

American Psycho
Produced by Single Cell Pictures
Directed by Mary


A Waste of Space

Mission to Mars
Produced by Walt Disney Productions
Directed by Brian De Palma
Screenplay by Lowell Cannon, Jim Thomas, and Graham Yost
Released by Buena Vista Pictures

Instead of insulting our intelligence, as so much third-rate science fiction does, director


Presence, Real and Ersatz

The Talented Mr. Ripley
Produced by Paramount Pictures and Miramax Films
Directed by Anthony Minghella
Screenplay by Anthony Minghella, from the novel by Patricia Highsmith
Released by Paramount Pictures

Anthony Minghella’s screen version of Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley


James Bond, Luddite

The World Is Not Enough
Produced by MGM-UA
Directed by Michael Apted
Screenplay by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade
Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The World Is Not Enough (hereafter TWINE, as its promoters have dubbed the film) is the 19th official


Seeing Is Not Believing

The Limey
Produced by Artisan Entertainment
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Screenplay by Lem Dobbs Released by Artisan Entertainment

The Insider
Produced by Touchstone Pictures
Directed by Michael Mann
Screenplay by Eric Roth from a Vanity Fair article
by Marie Brenner

Waugh Stories

Waugh Stories

        “A shriller note could now be heard rising from Sir Alastair’s rooms; any who have heard that sound will shrink at the recollection of it; it is the sound of the English county families baying for broken glass.”—Evelyn Waugh, Decline


Of Guns and Roses

Three Kings
Produced by Village Roadshow Productions,
Atlas Entertainment, and Warner Bros.
Directed by David O. Russell
Screenplay by John Ridley and David O. Russell
Released by Warner Bros.

American Beauty
Produced by DreamWorks and Jinks/Cohen
Directed by Sam Mendes


Intimations of Mortality

Stir of Echoes
Produced by Gavin Polone, Judy Hofflund, and Michelle Weisler
Directed by David Koepp
Screenplay by David Koepp, based on the novel by Richard Matheson
Released by An Artisan Entertainment

The Sixth Sense
Produced by Spyglass Entertainment and


In the Toyshop of the Heart

The Thomas Crown Affair
Produced by Irish Dream Time and United Artists
Directed by John McTiernan
Screenplay by Leslie Dixon and Kurt Wimmer,
original story by Alan Trustman
Released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The Blair Witch Project
Produced by Haxan Films


Oedipal Angst

American Pie
Produced by Universal Pictures
Directed by Paul Weitz
Screenplay by Adam Herz
Released by Universal Pictures

Summer of Sam
Produced by 40 Acres & a Mule Filmworks and Touchstone Pictures
Directed by Spike Lee
Screenplay by Victor Colicchio


Of Apes and Yahoos

Produced by Spyglass Entertainment
and Touchstone Pictures
Directed by Jon Turteltaub
Screenplay by Gerald Di Pego and Daniel Quinn
Released by Buena Vista Pictures

Pushing Tin
Produced by Art Linson Productions,
3 Miles Apart Productions Ltd., et al.


Resurrecting The Third Man

The Third Man
Produced by Alexander Korda and David O. Selznick
Directed by Carol Reed
Screenplay by Graham Greene
Released by London Films
Re-released by Rialto Pictures

Forget the Dark Side. Darth Sidious? No more convincing than Bela Lugosi flitting


Reel Crimes, True Illusions

True Crime
Produced by Malpaso Productions
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Screenplay by Andrew Klavan and Larry Gross
Released by Warner Bros.

The Matrix
Produced by Groucho II Film Partnership
and Silver Pictures
Directed by Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski


Under, Over, and Worlds Apart

Eight Millimeter
Produced by Columbia Pictures and Hofflund/Polone
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Screenplay by Andrew Kevin Walker
Released by Columbia Pictures

October Sky
Produced by Charles Gordon and Larry Franco
Directed by Joe Johnston
Screenplay by Lewis Colick and Homer

Filling a God-size Hole

Filling a God-size Hole

During a BBC interview in 1984, Martin Amis (son of Kingsley) casually mentioned that he wished he could believe in God. “Do you really mean that?” his chat host asked, tossing his well-coifed locks in a show of secular amazement.

In Our Own Image

In Our Own Image

Reading Charlotte Allen’s study, The Human Christ: The Search for the Historical Jesus, I was reminded of King of Kings, the Technicolor treatment of the New Testament I saw with some friends when it opened in 1961. On