Rated Reads this week explores the transformation of a trial into a meme, the ubiquity of musical TikToks and why Hollywood is going crazy for toy films.

The Meme-ification of the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Trial

As anyone who’s ever been on jury service can testify, trials are predominantly boring, technical affairs. When they feature huge celebrities with their public reputations on the line, however, things are a little different: and it doesn’t get much more notable than the recent defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, which has gripped social media for weeks. For VICE, Charlotte Colombo tackles how the trial has been turned into creepy entertainment, sports game style, via TikTok fancams and musical edits.

Why Every Musician Shouldn’t Be Expected To Be A Viral TikTok Sensation

More TikTok! The traditional routes to music success – relentless local touring, endless canvassing for a record deal, the hunt for radio play – have gone up in smoke, and in its place has been the seemingly ubiquitous rise of the TikTok music star, whose tunes become viral hits remixed and made into dances millions of times over. It’s a more democratic way of doing things, but it has its pitfalls too – just look at Florence Welch’s forced hostage video low-fi TikToks.

Films based on toys are nothing new – those Transformers were hunks of plastic before they became your cinematic nightmares – but as Hollywood hunts for more intellectual property to tempt audiences to cinemas, the toy film craze is going into overdrive. Did you know Greta Gerwig’s follow-up to Little Women is a Barbie film starring Margot Robbie? Find out about that and more in GQ’s guide to the bold new frontier of toy cinema. Movies are back?

Sharon Van Etten: ‘My relationship was abusive – he cut me off from everyone I know’

Sharon Van Etten has made herself an indie music staple over the past decade-plus, and tore it up with her collaboration with Angel Olsen, “Like I Used To”, last year. She’s back now to her solo work with a new album, influenced by her experiences of motherhood and pandemic isolation, and she chats to the i about the difficult experiences and search for redemption that her long career has entailed.

‘Russian Doll’ and ‘Undone’ Prove Time Travel Can’t Solve Everything

Multiverses are hot right now: all of a sudden, pop culture has become fascinated with the idea of digging into the past and probing questions of “what if”, often in trippy and kaleidoscopic style. For Thrillist, Emma Stefansky explores two shows taking dips back into the painful past to question the idea of different paths lives could take, and visualising it all as weirdly as you’d hope.

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