Review of 2018 Aquaman movie

On Saturday, December 22, 2018, I saw the Aquaman movie in 3D at the Security Mall AMC theatre at the 7:30 p.m. show.  I was charged $15.49 which I thought was a bit much, but I felt it would be worth it to see Jason Momoa’s animal magnetism on the big screen.

I never saw Jason on “Baywatch”, but I did see him as the villainous werewolf in the movie “Wolves”.    Filmmakers did not pretty him up as movie leading men are prone to be.    In close-ups, he looks like a seafaring guy with lines in his face that could have come from working in the sun and wind.

Jason is not a pretty boy, but a gritty man on the order of a Charles Bronson-type who commands the screen when he’s on it.   Even without the hair, he would still look like he could kick ass and take names later.

Arthur Joseph Curry (played by Jason Momoa) didn’t start out as Aquaman.   He was just a fun-loving average guy who enjoyed fishing and guzzling gigantic beers with his lighthouse dad (played by Temuera Morrison).   Despite kids teasing him as he grew up because of his ability to communicate with sea life and his special abilities in water, he was always rescuing people who were in trouble in the water.   Otherwise, he just wanted to live an ordinary life.

But he’s no ordinary guy because of his mother.   However, his human father never told him about his inhuman powerful mother Atlanna who was queen of Atlantis (played by Nicole Kidman).   She was forced into a loveless marriage with the then-current sea king and left her lighthouse keeper/sweetheart to protect her human baby.

The queen’s legitimate heir to her throne and Arthur’s inhuman step brother, King Orm or Ocean Master (played by Patrick Wilson) starts a war with humankind because of humans polluting the oceans he says.   But it seems to me that he just wanted everybody to recognize him as king.    He uses fear tactics to bully all the other sea peoples into war with the land humans.   Some of the nonhuman beings under the sea resembled the mythical traditional mermen/women with fish tails while the rest were walking on legs like humans and they all could live and breathe underwater.

A great scene was when the sea creatures brought all the pollution and trash back to the coasts so that humans could see how much they have polluted the oceans.

Arthur’s advisor as he grew up human was Nuidis Vulko, (played by Willem Dafoe), who trained him in the skills he would someday need as king of the sea.

Mera is Vulko’s powerful daughter (played by Amber Heard) who comes to Arthur for help to stop the coming war between sea creatures and land humans.   He wants no part of this war but is forced into it by his step brother harming humans.   Mera is aloof at first because she doesn’t know Arthur.   All she knows is what her father has told her about him.   Arthur becomes Aquaman after he passes the test of retrieving the royal trident that no one else could do as well as saves his mom’s life with Mera’s help.

Director James Wan did a great job of getting that story told as a love and action story.   He pulls it all together so it’s full of fast-paced action and no way boring.

The actors make you believe they are underwater, and it doesn’t hurt for the special effects to make their hair move in water every time they are supposed to be in water.   You can tell a ginormous amount of money was spent on the special effects for this movie.   The visualization was done by a multitude of companies including Lucasfilm.   The powerful drum-busting music was wonderful throughout the movie.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin


Review of the book, The Devil You Know, by Mary Monroe

Ms. Monroe’s adult story is told simply without being too graphic or explicit.   It is a tale of people who are unsatisfied with their life situations as some of us are.

The three main characters are Lola Mae, an unmarried woman; Joan, a married woman; and Calvin, a married man.    All three join an online sex club where they meet a lot of other people who are strangers to them—an exciting, but possibly dangerous adventure any way.   They each get to meet other members of the opposite sex.  The remaining characters are sex club members, family members, church folk, and neighbors.

However, Calvin happens to be a serial killer which Ms. Monroe wastes no time in telling the reader.   We’ve all heard of similar dangerous situations, but the author has created meaty characters with their own individual lives.

Single Lola Mae has lived with and been tortured nearly daily by her step relatives since her father’s death.  Her step mom, Bertha, makes her do chores and prepare her step-mom’s “lack of hair.”   Her lazy married step-sister and step-nephew are always on Lola’s back.  Lola always has to explain herself to people who don’t give a damn about her as well as account for her whereabouts 24/7.   Lola has a job at a supermarket, but if you are going to do this much clandestine adventure, you need to have a house or apartment of your own at the age of 32.

Joan, a little older than Lola, is married to a boring guy, Reed, who had let himself go weight-wise and sex-wise.   Reed blackmails Joan into staying with him by often threatening to kill himself if Joan leaves him.   Joan is Lola’s best friend.    Lola helps Joan keep her sex club secret from her husband, but her husband also has a secret.

Calvin, the serial killer, has met Lola who he describes as “drop-dead gorgeous”.   But she has one major flaw—she looks like the wife he secretly killed a few years ago for being unfaithful.   Calvin had choices in this situation.   He could have divorced his wife, or they could have gone to couples’ therapy.  Not everything has to end in murder.   He paints Lola with the same characteristics, but she is not an unfaithful type and dreams of being married to Calvin.

Here’s where the suspense comes in.    Oh, there’s no doubt that Calvin’s going to kill Lola, but when?  So, for several chapters, when you think Lola had breathed her last, she doesn’t.    But you know the hammer is going to drop any minute.   In your mind, eventually you start thinking, why doesn’t he just get it over with?   But, no, he uses many substitutes to satisfy his murder monkey before he can set the right time to kill Lola.

The novel is light and entertainingly pleasant—a book to take your mind off your own troubles.   Each chapter is titled by the person’s name who is telling their side of the story, which makes it very personal.  Put all the ingredients together and you get a wild ride that keeps you on your toes.   The book was not boring!   Per Calvin, “murder is complicated”.

© 2017 Mary Monroe, Kensington Publishing Corporation

Review by Rosa L. Griffin

Miriam Margolyes; Josefina López

I watched a compilation of the Graham Norton show online and fell in love with his very humorous show.   On one such compilation, Miriam Margolyes had been a frequent guest on his show and got along very well with his diverse guests.

Miriam Margolyes is an Australian-British actress and voice artist.  She was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in dramatic arts.

The first time I saw her was as an instructor, Professor Sprout, in the Harry Potter movies.   The next time I saw her she was portraying Miss Fisher’s snobby, prudish, bossy aunt, Prudence Elizabeth Stanley, in the Australian television series, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. 

Talk about playing against type—she is nothing like the part she was playing on that show.   She has a great sense of humor and great timing with her jokes.  Miriam had every guest cracking up in each episode of Graham’s show in which she appeared., an American rapper, was one of them.   Her appearances on Graham’s show have made me one of his fans.   I’ll have to start watching his show.

Real Women Have Curves

I want to look into this comedy, Real Women Have Curves, by Josefina López.   Josefina is a Chicana playwright.   Her play about Hispanic female workers has been made into a movie for which she is also co-author of the screenplay.


Wikipedia   Graham Norton is an Irish television and radio presenter, comedian, actor and author based in the United Kingdom

Written by Rosa L. Griffin


Review of movie Leave Her to Heaven, based on a book by Ben Ames Williams

Here’s another example of a fictional psychopath in the movie “Leave Her to Heaven” (1945) which was Fox’s highest-grossing film of the 1940’s.

The movie is about a beautiful socialite Ellen Behrendt (played by Gene Tierney, nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award).   Ellen is the former fiancé of the recently elected county district attorney, Russell Quinton (played by Vincent Price).  When she meets Richard, she quits Russell without any explanation.

Novelist Richard Harland (played by Cornel Wilde) is invited to her parents’ house for dinner.   Ellen leaves their house for 12 hours until Richard comes looking for her.  A clue to her personality, her father refused to go looking for her.  Unfortunately, Richard marries Ellen and becomes the male in her life who must give his full attention to her at all times after her father’s death.

Husband Richard soon realizes that Ellen is jealous of his writing, his adopted sister-in-law, his brother—anything or anyone that takes attention away from her.  Unfortunately, Richard was too gullible to see that his wife was dangerous until she herself told him so.

Ellen’s character fits the characteristics of a psychopath.  She possesses “a lack of empathy and feeling for others, selfishness, lack of guilt, and a superficial charm that manifests exclusively to manipulate others”. (See my essay, “Are You a Psychopath?” published in WordPress).  But, the romance changes into a horror movie when Ellen takes it to the dark side of psychopathy by drowning her husband’s disabled brother Danny (played by Darryl Hickman) in the lake, killing their unborn child, and committing suicide to frame her husband and adopted sister, Ruth (played by Jeanne Crain).

The most unbelievable part (Oh, forgive them Perry Mason) is the laughable trial scene highlighting Vincent Price.  Vincent Price’s prosecutor/anguished boyfriend as well as Richard’s defense lawyer/friend, Glen Robie (played by Ray Collins) were the worst lawyers.   Ray Collins was cheated out of the role he could have played.  His character Robie and the judge were asleep at the wheel.

The prosecutor badgered the husband unendingly without one objection from Richard’s lawyer/friend for the last third of the movie.  The prosecutor should have recused himself from this case because of a conflict of interest and lack of impartiality, knowing his romantic background with Ellen before her marriage to Richard.   I guess the filmmakers wanted to create more horror by adding Vincent Price to the horror abounding in the movie.

Normally, I stop watching a movie that loses its senses which this movie did by then.   But I had to see what was so Oscar-worthy.   Gene Tierney’s performance was Oscar-worthy.  She made me believe she was a killer.   However, Cornel Wilde wasn’t given much to work with in this part.  His character was clueless most of the movie as people can be when they are in love.  He sat still and looked handsome.

The other thing that I didn’t like about the movie was the title, “Leave Her to Heaven”, because it implied that Ellen should go to heaven because she was so good.  But, the book author, Ben Ames Williams, drew the title from Shakespeare’s quote in Hamlet, “leave her to heaven, and to those thorns that in her bosom lodge to prick and sting her.”  The title should have been: “Send her straight to Hell!”

This was the second movie in which I saw Gene Tierney as a murderous psychopath, but in the movie, “Razor’s Edge”, she killed people emotionally, not physically.   Otherwise, she was usually the epitome of innocence in her film roles.

Sources:  Wikipedia,

Written by Rosa L. Griffin




Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely (A Quote)

This was a best-known quote of the 19th century British politician, historian, and moralist Lord John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton 1834-1902, in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887.  But, he was borrowing from other speakers or writers who earlier said it differently.

A king was the one with the most wealth and power.  This person thinks that all in their “kingdom” are pawns to do with as they please and they’ve done it so long that they believe their own hype.    They rule by threats, coercion, bargaining, murder, and compensating.   “…this option to impose on without any regard whatsoever for due process, becomes, in the hands of most, a license to harm, if not destroy the careers and lives of others.  Leadership incompetence” 1

“Absolute monarchies are those in which all power is given to, or as is more often the case, taken by, the monarch.   Examples were Roman emperors who thought they were gods and Napoleon Bonaparte who declared himself emperor”.2

There’s no room for absolute power in a democracy of checks and balances.  As seen recently, if you act only to build your own wealth, it will eventually come back to bite you in the behind.

As in the movie, The Man Who Would Be King (1975), based on Rudyard Kipling’s 1888 original story, two con men (Carnehan and Dravot, “British adventurers in British India”) sought their fortune in a foreign country, Afghanistan.   They were fellow freemasons to the journalist that they convinced to help them with their research.  They started out by helping people who were warring against each other and came up with satisfactory solutions.   But, then they went a few steps too far by becoming kings themselves over people whose customs they didn’t understand.

Since the holy men who lorded over all the local tribes declared Dravot (Sean Connery) a descendant of  a God because of the freemason symbol he wore around his neck, he basically was thought to be a God for a few months until he told the holy men that he was going to marry a local girl and father children.  The local girl was instructed to bite Dravot on the face causing him to bleed.  Seeing Dravot bleed, the holy men knew he was not a God, and executed him.

Two years later Carnehan (Michael Caine) returned to the journalist.   They had paid for their deceit.  Carnehan had been tortured, crippled, and released.   But, he showed the journalist (Christopher Plummer) the skeletal head of Dravot that was still wearing his golden crown.

Both actors did a wonderful job, especially Sean Connery’s character explaining that he felt this Godship was his calling, and he intended to mend his ways.   Had they left with the spoils before they were outed, as Carnehan wanted to do, they would have been wealthy men.   But, Dravot believed his own hype.

And, now we have another example of absolute power in the case of the Saudi Arabian American journalist executed in the Saudi consulate in Turkey recently.    He was the  same journalist who accompanied President 45’s business dealers to Saudi Arabia on past trips.  And, don’t forget the arms deal President 45 already made with the Saudis.


  1. Dr. Robert Aziz, Huffington Post,
  2. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely (A Quote),
  3. Wikipedia, Rudyard Kipling, The Phantom ‘Rickshaw and other Eerie Tales

Submitted by Rosa L. Griffin


Review of television show Lucifer

Lucifer is an American dark comedy in which a fallen angel, “the devil”, still retains all his vanity as an angel and develops a disdain for his job as a punisher of sinners after they die.   It is set in the police detective world of Los Angeles (the city of angels).

Los Angeles and the music are characters in the show.   Each episode begins with a scene of the city from the air.  Although I found out that the location was Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada.   The special effects are spectacular, and, this character, Lucifer, doesn’t have to show his real face very often.

The premise of the series is that Lucifer Morningstar, the fallen angel of light, takes an unapproved vacation from his job in hell.   He is portrayed by the deliciously handsome Tom Ellis as a spoiled brat who is always mad at his Father, God.   (The first time I saw Tom Ellis was on an episode of Poirot in which he was portraying a police detective.)   Lucifer has no idea what is required to actually live among humans.   He exposes humans to countless dangers just by being himself.

He soon finds out that there are consequences for helping humans—consequences causing them to die and go to an unguarded hell as well as causing the human body count to soar when the sinners escape.

In the first episode, he and a female singer that he helped to super-stardom are gunned down, but of course, he doesn’t die.   He was giving her advice to get herself together at the time.  As I think we all know, not everyone can handle fame.   Lucifer meets detective Chloe and starts showing up everywhere to help her solve murders, including this first one.   Because he is an angel of light, he has a hypnotic effect on humans which he uses in his detective work.

Unlike movies where angelic hosts take a vacation, live among us, or are sent to help a priest out, as in the movie, “Death Takes a Holiday”, the tv show, “Supernatural”, tv show, “American Gods, movie “The Preacher’s Wife”, and the movie or tv show, “Hercules”, in which the gods constantly interfere with human life, Lucifer, however, indulges in his favorite things–alcohol, sex, and song.

The characters of the show are diverse and believable:

  • D.B. Woodside is Lucifer’s angel brother, Amenadiel, who unsuccessfully, per Father’s instructions, tries to convince Lucifer to go back to his job in hell.   (A hunk and a half.)
  • Lauren German is the beautiful police detective, Chloe Decker, who is manipulated into partnering with Lucifer with him as her police consultant who helps her with cases.
  • Kevin Alejandro is Chloe’s handsome husband, Dan, who is separated from his wife and tries to get back with her.  (Kevin was great in the HBO tv series “True Blood”)
  • Scarlet Estevez is Chloe and Dan’s cute little daughter who befriends Lucifer and Mazikeen.  The voice of wisdom most of the time and she likes chocolate cake.
  • Rachel Harris is beautiful Dr. Linda Martin who ends up being everybody’s therapist and in danger as well because of her job.
  • Lesley-Ann Brandt is excellent at portraying Lucifer’s beautiful demon body guard, Mazikeen, who can kick ass 24/7.
  • Aimee Garcia is Ella Lopez, the cheerful beautiful LAPD forensic scientist.
  • Tricia Helfer is Charlotte, Lucifer’s beautiful but manipulating mom and ex-wife of God.
  • Tom Welling is police lieutenant Marcus Pierce as well as a mysterious character.  (I loved him as Superman in the tv show Smallville, and what a hunk he still is.)

The creators of the show are Neil Gaiman (author of American Gods), Sam Kieth (comics artist and writer), and Mike Dringenberg (comics artist).

However, there is a disconnect after season 3, episode 23 in which Chloe sees Lucifer’s real devil face for the first time.  In the last two episodes, S03:E24 and S03:E25, her realization of his true identity is not addressed as though it didn’t happen.  The series was just digging into more of Ella, the forensic scientist’s backstory and new characters like the Angel of Death.

This was a show on Fox until its fourth season was canceled because its fanbase was too small.    And, due to those fans who complained, Netflix picked up the show for its fourth season.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin



Review of book:  Bloodsworth—the True Story of the First Death Row Inmate Exonerated by DNA Evidence, by Tim Junkin

Bloodsworth is the nonfiction account of how Kirk Bloodworth was wrongfully accused and spent 9 years in prison for the alleged heinous rape and murder of a child.    The book includes a short history of how DNA came about (“clearing the innocent as well as identifying the guilty”), the history of the Maryland Penitentiary, and a short Baltimore history beginning in 1661.  I love a book that gives the historical backstory to explain why things happened and what was going on in the country at the same time.

“In her news conference, Sandra A. O’Connor declined to say that Bloodsworth was innocent and offered no apologies.   ‘There are no other suspects at this time’, she said.  ‘Based on the evidence, our office did the right thing in prosecuting him,’ she said.   ‘I believe he is not guilty,” O’Conor added.  ‘I am not prepared to say he’s innocent.’  This public statement of hers caused some people to think he was still guilty despite the proof of his innocence.

The author says “There is a strain of hubris that affects certain people in power, people with authority.  It can be slow to develop, like a dormant infection.  If not guarded against, it can breed an unhealthy arrogance, a cocksureness that their judgments are beyond fallacy.  Such self-righteousness allows them to close their minds to new possibilities.  It can cause right-thinking people to do terrible things.  The devil has a long tail.”   In addition, it can cause these professionals to not consider any other options like the four other local men who had criminal records and creepy ways that caught their co-workers’ attentions, but not the prosecution investigators’ attentions.

Kirk’s personal story of triumph is intermingled with the above in an interesting and far from boring way.  There was no evidence to even bring him in as a suspect.   But, think of what he and other innocent men and women have gone through.   Some say, well, the cover tells you that he was proven innocent, why should I read his story?   Who knows, maybe you will need the information that he learned from his experience being locked up in the Maryland Penitentiary, being trapped with the guilty, using every bit of money your elderly parents have in trying to prove your innocence, etc.   This could have been your story.

And, what was his crime?   This former waterman, Marine, and discus-throwing champion allowed his life to spiral out of control in pursuit of the wife whom he loved.  So much so that he wasn’t prepared physically or emotionally to bring his life back on track.   He and his wife were living with a group of like-minded party animals who only lived to party until his wife grew bored with him and ran away to find some other like-minded fellow.  Bloodsworth was high and miserable about his wife when he was arrested.   What a time to be arrested when you are not thinking clearly at all and having to come down off that high in prison.

This book was selected by the Maryland Humanities One Maryland One Book campaign.   Copyright 2004 by Tim Junkin and Kirk Bloodsworth, Published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

Submitted by Rosa L. Griffin

Review of book:  Heavy is the Rain, by Stella Adams

Ms. Adams’ book is wonderful.   You know the old saying, “When it rains—it pours”?   Well, little Billie (named after Baltimore singer Billie Holiday) has had her share of ups and downs, and most of her downs were brought on by unsavory adults as well as by an emotionally unavailable mother (not taking either her new husband or Billie’s side) and an absent father.   The story takes place between 1948 and 1966 between Baltimore and South Carolina.

I can’t leave out Grandma Gertie in South Carolina who had a special bond with her granddaughter, Billie, to the point of always knowing when Billie was in trouble in Baltimore.   Ms. Adams did her due diligence in researching Baltimore City, Maryland, locales and history for her fiction novel.   And, if you have lived in Baltimore, the locales in her book will hopefully dredge up pleasant memories for you.  It brought back many memories for me.

Her book is fast-paced and thrilling because there are mysteries going on during the novel that make for a lot of suspense.   Issues confronted are child molestation and revenge for same (the word “honeymoon” and its special meaning, age-old dilemma of who can a child tell), female child made into a numbers runner, the danger of payback, and whether love is even in Billie’s future.

Copyright 2013 Stella Adams, Plenary Publishing, Charleston.  Look for her new book, Beneficial Life, just published in 2018 by Stargo LLC.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin





Chase the right waterfalls! Please don’t stick to the rivers and the lakes that you are used to!

Hi, everyone!

A few years ago, TLC sang a beautiful song –“Waterfalls”.

“Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Please stay in the rivers and the lakes that you are used to.”    I thought the lyrics were kind of negative, because I thought of waterfalls as something positive.   But in watching the video and re-reading the lyrics, I found that the song spoke of young people who were going too far in the wrong direction–ruining their lives.   The video of three beautiful women standing in water is breath-taking.

“According to Bustle, the song we love to belt out is about H.I.V., drug dealing, and other tragedies that kill predominantly young people.”    “The Meaning Behind ‘Waterfalls’ by TLC is Pretty Dark”,, 4/15/17 Lyrics/Waterfalls Lyrics.html, TLC (T-Boz/Left Eye/Chili), 1995, on the LaFace label.

Submitted by Rosa L. Griffin

Despacito (Slowly)

Recently, I had been hearing a song in Spanish called Despacito and I was curious to find out what it meant because I was dancing in the car every time I heard it.

The hottest lines in English for me were:

“I want to undress you in kisses slowly firmly in the walls of your labyrinth”.

“want you to show my mouth your favorite places…”

The song is a collaboration between Puerto Rican pop artist Luis Fonsi and Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee.   At that time, Despacito (Slowly) “was the most-streamed song of all time”.  (Hanlon)

“The reggaton-pop song was released on January 13, 2017 and topped the charts of 40 countries.”   It was even made into a remix featuring Justin Bieber on April 17, 2017.    (Pemberton)


Allegra T. Hanlon on July 19, 2017,

Becky Pemberton, April 10, 2018,

Submitted by Rosa L. Griffin