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‘Shutter’ (2004/8)

Shutter ‘(2008) is touted as a product of ‘the Executive Producers of ‘The Ring’ and ‘The Grudge’, but is the American audience’s memory so brief as to forget that only one of these American remakes was any good?

‘Shutter’ plays like ‘Ring 2′ ought to have. Back in 2005, I had hoped that the production team at DreamWorks would have done the smart thing and either followed the Japanese sequel or done the metatextual thing and paid homage to their source material by sending Rachel Keller East for a close-encounter with kwaidon — Japanese ghost stories. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. [Read more →]

“The Middleman” (2008)

During a summer that’s seen an effort of recycling everybody’s syndicated childhood programming — Get Smart , Speed Racer , live-action versions of ‘The Hulk’ and ‘Iron Man’ — some of the good stuff is getting lost over at ABC Family. “ The Middleman ” is Javier Grillo-Marxuach ‘s television adaptation of his eponymous series of graphic novels .

But The Middleman isn’t just some dime-store comic book property, it’s a fun, literate and self-conscious treatment of semi-secret agents, superheroes and villains, a pop-culture c onfiture that rivals anything Joss Whedon and the Gilmore Girls ever offered up in zither’s fast-paced talk-fests. While I’ve not read the comic book , it is said to be ingenious.
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‘Hancock’ (2008)

Hancock ‘ started it’s journey to the screen 12 years ago as a spec-screenplay by first-timer Ny Vincent Ngo, titled ‘Tonight He Comes’.

I first learned about Ngo’s screenplay through some fanboy site like Harry Knowles’ AintItCool.com. Ngo’s script created something of an uproar in Hollywood despite comic book properties being at a fallow moment after Joel Schumacher’s assumption of the Batman franchise with ‘s ‘ Batman Forever ‘ (1995) and the revolving door that the title role became after the departure of Tim Burton and Michael Keaton.

‘Tonight’ launched a bidding war and got Ngo signed by CAA, jump-starting Ngo’s screenwriting career and several premium-cable writing gigs. But along the way, the script also got the attention of Writer-Producer Akiva Goldsman who bought the script and subsequently doctored it to fit his number one screen-doctoring client, Will Smith. [Read more →]