November 29, 2008

Psychotic Review: Transporter 3

Jason Statham is back as that irrepressible suit-wearing, Audi-loving and ass kicking "transporter" Frank Martin in the third installment of the almost cult-like Transporter franchise.

Be prepared for disappointment, however. The first two Transporters kicked some major ass. They had everything. Fight scenes to drool over, fancy driving and Jason Statham giving us some nice eye candy, both dressed and undressed. However, T3 leaves a lot to be desired.

This time Frank is forcefully contracted to drive the Ukrainian Valentina from Marseilles to Stuttgart and Budapest. It appears that Valentina is the kidnapped daughter of the head of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Ukraine. And this is the root of the problem with T3. Too much attention is focused on Valentina and Frank and Valentina - - a romantic duo, by the way, which is forced down the viewer's throats with as much discretion and gentleness as Chef Gordon Ramsey voices his displeasure. Too much so-called romance and not enough fighting and driving. Boo hiss, T3.

Add to that the fact that Valentina is quite possibly the most annoying leading lady to ever be captured on film. Would Frank/Statham really put up with her mouthy obnoxiousness? I was hoping he would throw her out the window, take her out of the equation and get back to his normal fight scenes (which consist of Statham taking on 4-6 opponents simultaneously, with him managing to wriggle out of his shirt and still win).

Don't waste your $10 to see this installment, unless you simply want to watch Statham for an hour and a half. Wait for the movie on DVD or cable. And hold your breath that the sequel to Crank will be infinitely better.

November 24, 2008

Psychotic Review: Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice

As a fan of all things Brady Bunch, I was looking forward to Maureen ("Marcia Brady") McCormick's autobiography if, for no other reason, than to hear (hopefully) a little more behind-the-scenes dirt on what really happened during the filming of the Bunch. Yes, I read Barry Williams' Growing Up Brady back in the early 90s, but I figured Ms. McCormick could tell us more.

Upon hearing early reviews that McCormick admitted to being a cocaine addict and suffering from depression and fears of going insane, I really considered giving this book a pass. Honestly, I didn't want to destroy the warm fuzzy image of the impossibly perfect Bradys. Yet, temptation got me and I gave this book a read.

I was not able to read it in one sitting, primarily because the material was so raw, so honest that it was almost painfully overwhelming. Ms. McCormick could have left a great deal of material out, to protect herself, and she did not. She was brutally honest - - she came from a very fractured family (a mother suffering from mental illness, a father who cheated and found God, one older brother who was a classic overachiever, one older brother who fell into drugs and led a groundless life and an older brother who suffered from mental disabilities), she suffered personally and professionally from Marcia Brady's perfectionism and she was addicted to cocaine for years. Her cocaine addiction was so bad, in fact, that she broke off one relationship because she loved the drug more than the man, she dated one man because he could get her drugs and she lost countless opportunities because of coke. (An interview with Steven Spielberg, where she showed up high, as well as a first date with Steve Martin that went nowhere because she was stoned). She also admits allowing a man to videotape her so that she might get drugs. Most definitely not very Brady-esque.

However, throughout the book, McCormick is exceedingly likable. Even at her rock bottom worst, you want her to get better because she's so damn nice. She makes no excuses for her behavior and her road was not an easy one. She didn't recover overnight; in fact, it took years for her to reach a good place. Years during which her career stalled, her marriage got rocky, she became a mother and her birth family imploded. For anyone who might believe that McCormick wrote this book purely for money, I would suggest you read it first. I hardly think money was the driving force, if any motivation, here. I think McCormick wrote it now because she was finally able to put her demons at rest - - nearly 40 years after appearing as Marcia Brady.
And I say good for her and much continued success.
Frankly, my only complaint about this book is not enough information on the original Brady Bunch - - not surprising though when you read about what McCormick was going through in her personal life. And what a pleasant surprise to know that not only did her Brady Brides husband Jerry "Wally Logan" Houser become a good friend to her but eventually helped to start her on the right path.
Most definitely a thumbs up and a "must read".