The Verdict in the Depp-Heard Trial is Going to Set Women and Domestic Abuse Victims Back Decades

Domestic abuse is nothing new. It has unfortunately been part of the human experience since time immemorial. What is new is that if someone is accused of abusing their spouse or significant other, they could face jail time.

For the last month or so, the defamation trial of Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard has captivated both the press and the public. On Wednesday the verdict was announced. The jury ruled in favor of Depp.

The mere thought that this trial had to happen in the first place is disturbing. What I find downright scary is that because those involved are A-list actors, it becomes acceptable. Instead of the accused abuser having their day in court, they could turn around and sue the abused for defamation. This person is given an out instead of facing justice.

Though I have not been following the trial closely, I admire Heard. She is not just standing up for herself, she is also standing up for the millions around the country and the world who are in a similar situation.

As a defense, Depp claimed that his ex-wife’s claims ruined his career. That’s bullshit. He hasn’t made a decent movie in years. If his career is in the ditch because of his choices, he has no one else to blame. Adding insult to injury, Depp’s female fans and some victim’s support groups were extremely vocal in their support of the actor. While they have every right to their opinion, they should have at the very least, listened to the evidence supporting Heard’s case.

We all know that those who are being abused by their romantic partner often remain silent instead of speaking out. The question is, who is going to believe them, and more importantly, will they be able to go to the police and get the help they need?


Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas

In the western world, the myth and imagery of a pirate is a specific one. We may conjure up the image of Tyrone Power in one of the swashbuckling action films from the days of old Hollywood or Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. A woman, especially a woman of color is not usually what we picture.

Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas, by Laura Sook Duncombe was published in 2019. In the book, Duncombe breaks through the idea of who and what we think a pirate is. She takes the reader through history, introducing them to female privateers who they may or may not have heard of. Using both proved historical facts and legends that have been circulating throughout the centuries, she tells the stories of women who broke the mold, but have not been given their place in the historical spotlight.

This book is fabulous. Though these women are few in number compared to male pirates, their contribution cannot be overlooked. What Duncombe does well is differentiate fact from fiction, pointing out where history ends and folklore begins. She also makes a very point in linking the actions of these women to the modern feminist movement.

Do I recommend it?


Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Movie Review

When a fan of successful series of movies walks into the theater for the next chapter in the story, there is hope that this new film lives up the reputation of its predecessors. But sometimes, that hope springs eternal.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald hit theaters this weekend. At the beginning of the film, Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) has escaped from the authorities. His ideal world is one where wizards rule and non-magical humans are second class citizens. He needs Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) to see his plan to completion, but Credence has other goals. It’s up to Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), Queenie Goldstein (Alison Sudol) and Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) with help on the back end from Dumbledore (Jude Law) to stop Grindelwald and find Credence.

Other reviews of this film have been tepid. While the film suffers from sequel-itis, in terms of other sequels, it could be a lot worse. I especially appreciated the ending. It answered the major question of the narrative, while leaving enough narrative strings for the next film.

I recommend it.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is presently in theaters. 


Murder On The Orient Express Movie Review

Agatha Christie is among the most beloved and respected of mystery writers.

This weekend, the newest adaptation of her book, Murder On The Orient Express hit theaters.

When Edward Ratchett (Johnny Depp) is found dead, it is up to Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) to figure out who the killer is. Is it Mary Debenham (Daisy Ridley), Hector MacQueen (Josh Gad), Caroline Hubbard (Michelle Pfeiffer) any other of the passengers on the train?

I have not read any of the Agatha Christie books, nor have I seen the previous adaptations, so this review is strictly based on this movie.  While the cast is clearly the best that Hollywood can offer and Kenneth Branagh is no slouch in the directing department, the movie is a bit slow around the second act. While the ending was a bit surprising, the film is not as exciting as the trailer made it out to be.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Murder On The Orient Express is presently in theaters. 

Throwback Thursday- Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971) & Charlie & The Chocolate Factory (2005)

There is something about a piece candy or chocolate that will inevitably draw a child in.

Road Dahl’s classic children’s book, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory is a childhood fantasy. The doors to Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory are about to open. 5 lucky children are about to have the experience of a lifetime.

In 1971, the book was made into a film. Gene Wilder steps into role of Willy Wonka. Playing the young boy who is worthy of the final prize is Peter Ostrum.

In 2005, director Tim Burton decided to put his own spin on the story. Renamed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Johnny Depp steps into the role that previously belonged to Gene Wilder, Freddy Highmore is the young man who is the boy who is unique among the children who have been chosen.

The 1971 film has the hallmark of a late 1960’s, early 1970’s film. Bright colors, groovy fashions and an almost joyous approach to the tender years that are our childhood. The 2005 reboot is most certainly a Tim Burton film. It has the colors, the crazy landscape and the colorful characters that usually inhabit his films.

I recommend them both.

Throwback Thursday- Cry-baby (1990)

The meet cute of a future couple in a film or television show can be predictable. Thankfully, in the 1990 movie Cry-Baby, the meet cute is not predictable.

Allison Vernon Williams (Amy Locane) is a square (a good girl) who desperately wants to be bad. She falls for Cry-Baby (Johnny Depp), the leader of the Drapes, who are the local greasers. But her grandmother, Mrs. Vernon Williams (Polly Bergen) and her boyfriend Baldwin (Stephen Mailer) will do anything to prevent Allison from going Drape.

Written and directed by John Waters, this movie is a very funny and darker version of Grease. It also comments on the divide in the 1950’s between those who conformed to the ideals of the era and those who chose to follow their own path.

I recommend it.

Throwback Thursday- Chocolat (2000)

Is there anything better than chocolate? There is something about this dessert that gets taste buds going all over the world.

In Chocolat (2000), Madame Audel (Juliette Binoche) is a single mother who moves to a rural French village with her daughter a few years after World War II. The town and it’s citizens, led by Comte de Reynaud (Alfred Molina) is a conservative one. Madame has the audacity to open her chocolate shop on Sunday, which happens to be across from the village church. While it arouses the curiosity of some of the town folk, others are hesitant and unsure about the latest addition to the town.  When a floating caravan of gypsies led by Roux (Johnny Depp) enters the town and befriends Madame, things really begin to stir.

This movie is one of the best of the early 2000’s. With an all star cast and an engaging story, this movie is enjoyable.

I recommend it.

Dont Bother Riding Onto This Range- The Lone Ranger Review

Disney’s latest foray into the action/adventure moviedom is The Lone Ranger, a reboot of the classic TV series of the same title.

Armie Hammer plays the title role of the Lone Ranger/John Reid and Johnny Depp is Tonto, his Native American partner in crime. Joining Hammer and Depp is Ruth Wilson as Rebecca, John’s sister in law/love interest, William Fitchner as Butch Cavendish, the film’s villian, Tom Wilkinson as Cole, a questionable politician and Helena Bonham Carter as Red Carrington, the town Madam.

Other reviewers have reffered to this movie as bloated and misshapen. I would add predictable and trite.

Armie Hammer’s approach to the character is one dimensional, the only actor that held my interest throughout the movie was Johnny Depp. Ruth Wilson, whose portrayl of in the title role of Jane Eyre in 2006 is one of my favorite Jane Eyre’s, is completely wasted in this part. Despite any press stating that Rebecca is not the typical love interest/damsel in distress, I disagree that outside of a few moments in the film, the character does not move beyond the stereotypical female role. The supporting cast of Tom Wilkinson, William Fitchner and Helena Bonham Carter are also wasted as actors.

This movie clocks in at 2 hours and 40 minutes. Frankly, the screen writers seem have lifted parts of plot from 1998 film The Mask Of Zorro. If I could gotten those two hours and forty minutes back of my life, I would. But instead, I warn anyone who is considering seeing this movie, do not see this movie. If Much Ado About Nothing was the best movie I have seen so far this year, this movie is the worst.

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