While We Were Sleeping: Summer 2015

Since I took an extended vacation for the summer, lets go over this summers big winners and terribly sad losers:

Winners

Extinct franchises bring new life to dwindling box office 

After a depressing 2014 summer box office, studios badly needed to up the ante this time around. Kicking off the summer rebound was George Miller’s return to the series that jumped started his career, “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Starring Tom Hardy as the title character, George Miller took us on a thrill ride audiences never wanted to get off. Adding the feminist arch with Charlize Theron’s character “Imperator Furiosa” had everyone begging for a spin off the moment her robotic arm hit the screen. The film has already won Best Picture from the International Federation of Film Critics. This writer would not be surprised to  hear Mad Max mentioned during this coming award season.

Even though Mad Max had critics and fans buzzing, it was not even close to the money Jurassic World brought in. Definitely the king of the summer box office, Jurassic World had critics mixed but fans could not get enough. Director Colin Trevorrow brought die-hard fans back to their childhood in this fresh take on a once dead franchise. Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and the terrifying Indominus Rex the film has made almost $2 billion worldwide and quickly granted a sequel. However, Trevorrow will be stepping away from the directors chair but will be staying on as executive producer. His next project will take him to a galaxy far, far away for Star Wars: Episode IX.

There’s a new “It Girl” in town and she’s raunchy as hell

This summer audiences were introduced to comedian Amy Schumer. Already a star on the Comedy Central sketch show “Inside Amy Schumer,” the funny lady expanded her resume by writing and starring in the funniest film of the summer “Trainwreck.” Judd Apatow directed the film which featured supporting cast of Bill Hader, Brie Larson, and Lebron James. However it was Schumer that owned the film and showed that the transition from small screen to film can be executed quite easily, all the way to a $105 million domestic take. Plus she received first Emmy for “Best Sketch Show” and vacationed with new BFF Jennifer Lawrence. I’d say this was the “Summer of Schumer.”

Finally a biopic for the new generation 

After years of talk and production issues, Straight Outta Compton was finally released to the praise of both audience and critics alike. The story of how N.W.A was formed had the highest opening weekend for a music biopic of all time with $60 million. The film held the #1 box office spot for 3 weeks straight. There is also talk of sequels in the work exploring more of the west coast crew’s history.

Crowning of the new R&B king

This summer underground R&B singer The Weeknd finally got the recognition he deserves. He owned the radio this summer with his #1 single “I Can’t Feel My Face,” and was also named “Song of the Summer” by every major media outlet. His pulse pounding performance at the MTV Video Music Awards proved that he is here to stay. Oh and his sophomore album “Beauty Behind the Madness” shot all the way to number one and also was the second biggest debut of the year for a male artist. Make sure to catch him on tour this fall with opener Halsey.

Losers

Just because the word “Fantastic” is in the title doesn’t mean it will

One of the most highly anticipated films of the summer was Josh Trank’s reboot of “Fantastic Four.” With a fresh cast of Milers Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell as Marvel’s First Family, many were excited to see Trank’s vision after his debut hit “Chronicle.” Even with a promising young cast and massive marketing behind it, the film could not escape the wrath of both critics and fans. Both of which found the film messy and uninteresting. Rumors of behind the scenes disagreements soon surfaced with Trank himself sending and then deleting a controversial tweet on the day the film hit theaters. Many questions arise from this failure, the most important being, what will Fox Studios do with the property now and with Trank also being dismissed as a director on one of the rumored Star Wars spin-offs, is his career DOA?

The most talked about show of last year returned and boy do we wish it didn’t 

True Detective debuted last year on HBO and quickly became the most talked about miniseries of the year. Between the amazing performances from leads Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson plus the amazing backdrop of Louisiana and the occult lifestyle going on inside of a church, it was easy to see how it became a runaway hit. When season two was announced many fans were curious as to who would takeover for Harrelson and McConaughey, producers upped the ante by bringing in huge stars like Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, and Taylor Kitsch. With this new start power fans and critics alike were both beyond excited to see this next chapter of True Detective. However, the essence from season one was lost on this new season. The acting came across as forced and the dialogue was sometimes unbearable. Plus many fans could of cared less about this seasons mystery. For a show that exploded in its first season, season two made barely a blimp on anyone’s radar. If HBO pulls the trigger on season three lets hope original show runner Cary Fukunaga helps bring back the essence of season one.

Tidal or Titanic

When Apple unveiled their new music streaming service, “Apple Music,” many insiders saw this as an early end to Jay Z’s streaming venture “Tidal.” Tidal had all the making for a successful streaming service using big artist to promote and put their music exclusively on the service. However with less than one million paid subscribers and losing their second CEO in a six-month span, Tidal looks to be sinking fast. Apple Music already has 11 million subscribers since its debut in June and seems to be steadily gaining steam on head honcho “Spotify,” which is currently the largest streaming service with 20 million paying members. Perhaps Hova should stick to his original blue print, rapping.

Rip Van Winkle has Awoken

Sorry that I fell asleep on everyone for these past few months but now worries Riggs is back! I will still be posting about pop culture but also adding my own personal touch and comment on things going on in the entertainment industry as well as featuring a few advice columns. Please stay posted, I cannot wait to hear feed back from you guys.

Breaking News!

Wake up and pay attention, we got breaking news:

X-men: Apocalypse has found its actor to play the titled villain. The lucky actor is…Oscar Isaac!

Isaac gained notoriety last year starring in the Coen Brothers “Inside Llewyn Davis.” The actor also just wrapped filming on the highly anticipated Star Wars: Force Awaken. Isaac is an interesting choice since rumors earlier this month had actors Tom Hardy and Idris Elba both in talks at different times for the role.

Apocalypse is one of the most beloved X-men comic arches of all time. Also with this being the last film in the X-men: First Class trilogy audiences can only expect this final chapter to pack a punch. The one question remaining is how will Oscar Isaac hold up to his fellow X-men cast that already features Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy just to name a few. Tell me what you think in the comments below. With this casting announcement do you think it’ll be long until we hear of any young Jean Grey or Cyclops announcement.

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While U Were Sleepin 11/24/2014

Sorry to be sleepin on you guys but…this is what happened While U Were Sleepin:

Super Bowl XLIX might be in Arizona but it’s going to be invaded by a certain California Girl.

Katy Perry was officially named the Super Bowl Halftime performer last night during Sunday Night Football. The “Dark Horse” singer will be bringing her usually entertaining stage show to one of the biggest stages in all of entertainment. We can only hope Juicy J graces us with his presences (fingers crossed).

Katniss continues to heat up the box office.

Jennifer Lawrence and Co. have much to celebrate. Not only was Mockingjay Part 1 the number one movie in the country with $123 million, but it also holds the record for the biggest box office weekend of 2014. Too bad fans will have to wait a whole other year for part 2.

Jurassic World leaked footage!! Jurassic World leaked footage!!

Late last night footage was leaked of the new Jurassic World trailer. Universal unveiled a 15 second teaser for the theatrical trailer set to debut during NFL Thanksgiving Football. From the looks of the leaked footage this film continues to bring hope to a nearly extinct franchise. Check out the link here http://movies.cosmicbooknews.com/content/jurassic-world-trailer-leaks-online

The American Music Awards aired last night, I know I didn’t know either. For a quick run down:

1) One Direction channeled the cast of American Horror Story: Coven

2) Taylor Swift is defiantly never getting a man after that performance

3) Nicki Minaj looked as miserable performing “Bang Bang” as we all are hearing it

4) Lorde was possessed by the devil on stage

5) And the real winner of the night was Justin Bieber for not having to witness the awkward performance of “The Heart Wants What It Wants” by his ex Selina Gomez

Finally, the Bellas are back!

Attention Aca-bitches but the girls from Pitch Perfect are back on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. Also the trailer for Pitch Perfect 2, the sequel to the cult smash from 2012 was released earlier this week. Slated for a May 2015 release if this trailer is just a sample for the full on laugh buffet about to come, sign me up! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBwOYQd21TY

While U Were Sleepin 11/19/2014

This is what happened While U Were Sleepin:

Americas self-proclaimed first supermodel Janice Dickinson sat down with Entertainment Tonight. In the interview Janice accused comedian Bill Cosby of rape during a hotel meet up in 1982. This is Cosby’s third accuser.

Chris Hemsworth seems like he can do it all. Superhero, Formula One racer, and now People’s magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive. The cover was unveiled during Live! With Jimmy Kimmel. All opposed? Didn’t think so!

Charles Manson is getting married…let that sink in all you single people out there. The mass murder won’t be allowed physical contact with his 26 year old bride Afton Elaine Burton, however the couple may kiss and enjoy a wedding feast from the jails finest vending machine.

Alabama leaps to No. 1 in College Football Playoff Top 25. After beating undefeated Mississippi State Saturday. Mississippi is still in the hunt at No. 4. Oregon held onto the No. 2 slot as did No. 3 Florida State.

Finally, SNL cast member Cecily Strong may have lost her seat on Weekend Update but she’s not letting that keep her down. The comedian has been invited to host the White House Correspondents dinner on April 25.

While U Were Sleepin 11/18/2014

This is what happened While U Were Sleepin:

An eight story digital billboard will light up Times Square tonight with Google running the very first ad campaign. For only $2.5 million a month you can even rent the billboard too.

TMZ reports that Houston Rockets star Dwight Howard is under investigation for child abuse. Stemming from allegations made by his baby mother Royce Reed, former star of Love and Hip Hop.

Jaden and Willow Smith sat down with New York Times Magazine for one of the oddest interviews in recent memory. The eccentric children of Will and Jada discussed their reasons behind not accepting traditional schooling, goals for their music, and reading ancient text that predates most western cultures (yeah seriously).

Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran will take the stage at the Victoria Secret fashion show. Because nothing sells lingerie like a pasty British guy and Taylor’s hot hot bod…

Finally, fans got their first taste of Jurassic World with the launch of http://www.masraniglobal.com/media/index.html Featuring a countdown to the trailer which will debut in 9 days.

While U Were Sleepin 11/17/2014

This is what happened While U Were Sleepin:

Kevin Hart confronts Jameis Winston during college tour. TMZ has video of the comedian telling the Heisman Winner to “stop doing dumb sh*t.”

NYPD is on the search for more potential molestation victims in regards to 7th Heaven actor Stephen Collins. At least 3 cases of alleged molestation are currently pending.

Real World/Road Rules Challenge contestant and fan favorite Demi Brown passed away over the weekend after losing her battle with cancer. She was 32.

Giancarlo Stanton is close to signing a potentially record setting deal. The outfielder would receive $325 million over 13 years. This would be the biggest contract in North American sports.

Finally, Beyoncé’s little sister Solange Knowles got married over the weekend to Alan Ferguson. The couple tied the knot in New Orleans in front of over 200 friends and family.

Ready or Not: Female Fronted Superhero Films are Coming

In recent months several major Hollywood studios have begun to announce their plans for solo female superhero films. Female superheroes are not rare in the comic cinematic universe. Audiences have seen several females delivery strong supporting roles. Most recent memory there is Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in The Avengers, Iron Man 2, and Captain America: Winter Solider. Jennifer Lawrence is no stranger to blockbuster franchises with the Hunger Games and her role as Mystique in the update X-Men franchise. Even though audiences have created strong fan bases for these characters they have yet to get the solo film treatment that their male counter parts have so easily received. Are audiences truly ready to go out in masses to see a female fronted comic book film? History tells us no but with the creation of ensemble film universes, it is only a matter of time that the ladies gets their chance in the drivers seat.

Warner Brothers and DC Comic announced in 2013 their follow up to the successful Man of Steel film would be title Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Even more interesting was in December of 2013 when it was announced that Gal Gadot was cast as Wonder Woman. She will also portray her again in a Justice League film that will be broken into two parts. Then in October 2014, rumors were confirmed when Warner Bros announced their full line up of films and Wonder Woman would be receiving her own stand alone project. Not coming out until 2017 this will be the first in a planned trilogy if the box office comes back positive. Wonder Woman will debut a full year before Disney and Marvel Studios planned Captain Marvel which will be released in July of 2018. Sony Pictures also has plans to create an all female Spiderman film possibly featuring Spider-Girl, Firestar, Black Cat, Spider-Woman, and Silver Sable. Black Cat is the most lucky to be featured since actress Felicity Jones played her alter ego Felicia Hardy in The Amazing Spiderman 2, Jones has stated to several media outlets that she would love to reprise the role and eventually evolve into the Black Cat. Sony has no date or director attached but if Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel are successful audiences will get to see it sooner rather than later.

Female fronted superhero films are not an uncommon thing in Hollywood. However they have been seen as more of a gamble than a success. The last film with a female superhero taking the reins was back in 2005 when Elektra came out starring Jennifer Garner. The film made $56 million on a budget of $43 million. Even with a decent return critics and audiences bashed the film killing any chance of a sequel. The year before in 2004 Halle Berry starred in a solo Catwoman film making only $82 million on a budget of over $100 million. Catwoman suffered from a dreadful script and a lackluster performance by its lead actors. Although Berry has had success in the comic book world with her role as Storm in the original X-Men trilogy and the recent X-men: Days of Future Past.

It will be 12 years since a solo female superhero film comes out when Wonder Woman debuts in 2017.Gal Gadot is mainly known for her role in the Fast and Furious franchise. However time will tell if she will be able to front a franchise. Hopefully her work in Dawn of Justice and Justice League will give fans enough to want to go out and see a solo film. Captain Marvel will need to be cast with a huge A-list celebrity to front it like in previous Marvel films. Charlize Theron would be an excellent choice to play Captain Marvel. The Oscar winner has proven she can handle her own in several gritty performance. Casting a big name like Theron would give audiences reason to be intrigued about a solo project. Plus Marvel is known for having characters pop up in after credit scenes which would be and even more exciting way to introduce the character say at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Whomever is cast in the role history still says there is a risk to solo female superhero films. As a fan of comic book films especially the creation of larger cinematic universes I am interest in these projects however I do have my concerns also. What is your take? Will you go see either of these films? Comment below and let me know your thoughts.

What a Suicide Squad movie means for DC, Warner Bros, and The Joker

Back in October, DC comics and Warner Bros held there annual shareholder meeting. Announcing their plan for the cinematic DC Universe up to 2020. Most of the list could be called predictable, for example a solo Wonder Woman movie coming in 2017 and a new Batman film coming in 2020 (not surprising since Ben Affleck has signed a multi-picture deal with Warner Bros). However there were many surprises that are both intriguing and worrying die hard DC comic fans. The studio was the first to announce a solo film for an African American character, Cyborg, which is set to release in 2020. DC also talked about plans to reboot the failed Green Lantern property that originally starred Ryan Reynolds back in 2011. The most interesting announcement of all though is that the Suicide Squad would be getting the feature film treatment written and directed by Fury director David Ayers for a 2016 release.

For those unfamiliar with the Suicide Squad here is a brief description. Suicide Squad is made up of super villains from various DC properties. These villains are approached by the United States government to handle dangerous black op missions in exchange for lessened prison sentences. The team has changed throughout the comic universe but many staples such as Lex Luthor, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and Harley Quinn have been in several different versions.

Not surprising was right after the announcement of a Suicide Squad movie many A list actors were already supposedly “in talks” to start in the ensemble comic book film. Names like Will Smith, Tom Hardy, Margot Robbie, and Ryan Gosling began to pass through the ears of different media sources. Jon Bernthal, most know for his role on The Walking Dead and the recent film Fury, sparked rumors of his involvement earlier in November stating he had spoken to Ayers about a potential role. This past weekend fans did receive some casting news when Wolf of Wall Street actress Margot Robbie signed on as Suicide Squad’s resident alpha female and psycho Harley Quinn. Most comments on the casting have been positive but the real question is if Quinn is involved in this DC Universe when will we see her boyfriend, The Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker.

Knowledge of Harley Quinn’s involvement in the Suicide Squad raised many eyebrows about possibilities of seeing another version of the famed Batman villain. Rumors of his casting have also been evident since the announcement of the film. First Ryan Gosling was in talks to take over the role, however, Gosling is not a fan of signing onto multi-picture deals and talks eventually fell through. Now sources close to Warner Bros are saying that Academy Award winner Jared Leto is next on there list. Leto picked up a huge amount of support this year from his role in Dallas Buyers Club playing a transgender character battling Aids. After taking a break to focus on his band Thirty Seconds to Mars, Leto seems to be drawn to the appeal of staying in front of the camera. Perhaps signing on to play The Joker could give him another breakout performance like it did for the late Heath Ledger.

Personally I am not interested in another version of The Joker. Heath Ledger did something with this character that no one could every repeat or do better. He made this comic book character an almost too real domestic terrorist bent on destroying not just Gotham but also the symbol that Batman stood for. Now I am in no way saying Jared Leto could not do an equally impressive job, Heath just did something so extreme and current that I feel it will be hard to get audience support on re-introducing The Joker.

What do you think? Too soon to bring in The Joker? Jared Leto a good fit? Let me know in the comments and also your take on the DC/ Warner Bros slate of upcoming films.

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Welcome to Riggs Report

Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. My goal for this blog is to report on things I enjoy in pop culture. Be it reality tv, sports, or movies I find popular culture to be not only interesting but constantly evolving and fascinating. This blog will also feature my reviews on entertainment, views on pop culture hot topics, and also introducing new music, movies, and television. Comments and topics of interest will always be welcome. Enjoy Riggs Report!