The Danger of President Pence

On September 14th, the right-wing pundit Ann Coulter, who last year published a book titled “In Trump We Trust,” expressed what a growing number of Americans, including conservatives, have been feeling since the 2016 election. The previous day, President Trump had dined with Democratic leaders at the White House, and had impetuously agreed to a major policy reversal, granting provisional residency to undocumented immigrants who came to America as children. Republican legislators were blindsided. Within hours, Trump disavowed the deal, then reaffirmed it. Coulter tweeted, “At this point, who doesn’t want Trump impeached?” She soon added, “If we’re not getting a wall, I’d prefer President Pence.” Trump’s swerve did the unthinkable—uniting Coulter and liberal commentators. After Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea, Gail Collins, the Times columnist, praised Vice-President Mike Pence as someone who at least “seems less likely to get the planet blown up.” This summer, an opinion column by Dana Milbank, of the Washington Post, appeared under the headline “ ‘President Pence’ is Sounding Better and Better.” Pence, who has dutifully stood by the President, mustering a devotional gaze rarely seen since the days of Nancy Reagan, serves as a daily reminder that the Constitution offers an alternative to Trump. The worse the President looks, the more desirable his understudy seems. The more Trump is mired in scandal, the more likely Pence’s elevation to the Oval Office becomes, unless he ends up legally entangled as well. Pence’s odds of becoming President are long but not prohibitive. Of his forty-seven predecessors, nine eventually assumed the Presidency, because of a death or a resignation. After Lyndon Johnson decided to join the ticket with John F. Kennedy, he calculated his odds of ascension to be approximately one in four, and is Continue Reading

Chris Rock trashes the new ‘Batman v Superman’ movie in talk with J.J. Abrams

Don't put Ben Affleck and Chris Rock in the same room! The caustic comic had the audience in stitches while he trashed Affleck's latest vehicle "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" at his Tribeca Film Festival talk with director J.J. Abrams. "Did you see that Superman Batman sh.t?" he asked the "Star Wars" director who remained mum. "I know you can't say anything. They wouldn't have cast me anyway." "Superman can't fight a guy that drives a car!" he continued. "Gets a flat and he's going to fight Superman! Calls Triple A and he's going to fight Superman! He's got jumper cables but he's going to fight Superman!" Rock also jokingly asked if Abrams could direct his favorite comic book franchise - The Fantastic Four. "Could someone save it?" the "Top Five" star asked. "I love "The Fantastic Four" and they keep f..king it up! That is my favorite of all, that and "Spiderman" but they've made way too many "Spidermans." The ex-SNL performer also admitted to firing a director because he discovered he didn't like Woody Allen's classic, "Annie Hall." "I can't work with this guy who doesn't like "Annie Hall!" he proclaimed. "Imagine taking notes from someone who doesn't like "Annie Hall?" Abrams admitted that the one actor he'd like to work with the most is Meryl Streep while Rock confessed that Denzel Washington tops his list. "I want to direct Denzel in a comedy," he said before noting that Washington has made "40 plus" movies but only worked with maybe four A-list directors. He also confessed that he never cast his favorite comedian - whose name momentarily escaped him - the late Patrice O'Neal in his sitcom "Everybody Hates Chris." "He (O'Neal) came in and read for my dad and he was amazing, better than Terry Crews (who eventually played the part)," Rock recalled. "But I knew Terry Crews would be on time every day." A decision he said he never regretted. Rock opened up the discussion with a killer line, "It's a big day for you (to Continue Reading

Simon Pegg, star of ‘Hector and the Search for Happiness,’ makes Daily News readers happy with live chat

We had him Pegged completely right. British actor Simon Pegg, star of the "Mission: Impossible" and "Star Trek" movies and his newest comedy, "Hector and the Search of Happiness," stopped by the Daily News offices Monday for a very special live chat with readers. And it turned out he was just as funny as his on-screen characters. "I'm ready to answer your questions, so make them interesting, personal and probing," he said at the beginning. "No, don't. Just ask questions." Asked what it was like to kiss his beautiful co-star, Rosamund Pike, in "Hector and the Search for Happiness," he answered, "She tastes like strawberries." Pegg's longtime collaborator Nick Frost– who co-starred with his best friend on "Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz" and "The World's End" – sent in a video question asking, "You've done zombies, you've done cops, what's next?" (It was an inside joke: the question they were asked over and over again on the "Hot Fuzz" media tour.) "How did you get out of my basement?!," Pegg replied. Pegg, set to reprise his role as the franchise's comic relief in "Mission: Impossible V," also relayed a spoiler about the film that's set to start shooting in the fall. "It's like (my) role in Mission Impossible 3 and 4, but one better," deadpanned Pegg. He was a little more cryptic about his visit to the secretive set of "Star Wars: Episode VII," directed by his pal J.J. Abrams. "I'm sorry I didn't get to answer all your questions," he said in a video to Daily News readers, before joking: "But I'll come down to the corner of Bowery and Third in about a half hour and we'll just chat ... I'll tell you everything I know about 'Star Wars."" Pegg turned (semi-) serious when asked about how he would start his own search for happiness. "Start enjoying the search," he said. "Because that's what happiness is, peeps." "Hector and the Search for Happiness" opens Sept. Continue Reading

Most anticipated movies of 2016: ‘Rogue One,’ ‘Finding Dory’

Star Wars mania won't subside in the new year.Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was voted the most anticipated 2016 film in a survey of moviegoers conducted by ticket site The results come as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh film in the saga, is setting box office records."Star Wars is conquering everything out there — it's a box office behemoth," says Erik Davis, Fandango managing editor. "Seeing Rogue One at No. 1 for 2016 shouldn't be a surprise, even if I don't think many people know it's not a sequel."Rogue One (in theaters Dec. 16, 2016) is the first stand-alone Star Wars Anthology film, exploring characters and events beyond the core saga. Set before 1977's Star Wars, it tells the story of resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the dreaded Death Star.Finding Dory (in theaters June 17), the widely anticipated sequel to 2003's Finding Nemo, swam to second place in the poll."Adults loved the original, and there's a whole generation of kids who have grown up with a true fondness for Finding Nemo," Davis says. "People have wanted to see these characters on the screen for a very long time."Finding Dory will bring back the voices of Albert Brooks as the clownfish Marlin and Ellen DeGeneres as the forgetful fish Dory, now searching for her lost mother (Diane Keaton) and father (Eugene Levy).Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice landed third on the list. Matt Damon's still-untitled return to the Jason Bourne franchise came in fourth, while Damon was also chosen as most anticipated actor."This speaks to the popularity of that franchise when Matt Damon is in the role," Davis says. "The fifth installment is right in this mix, but it doesn’t even have a title and we haven’t seen a trailer."More tentpole sequels dominated the Continue Reading

Centuries-spanning ‘Cloud Atlas’ proved a mind-boggling challenge for stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and crew

If “Cloud Atlas” — with its six intertwined stories that span 500 years — looks like one of the most audacious epics ever filmed, imagine what making it was like for the cast and crew. Enduring long stretches in the makeup chair to play multiple roles and bouncing back and forth between sound stages to film different story lines each day, the cast sometimes lost track of their own place in space and time. “We would often have conversations with each other, and not know who we were [because of the makeup],” Halle Berry tells the Daily News. “Tom [Hanks] shot a scene that Ben Whishaw was in and he didn’t even know it was Ben until ...” “Until I saw the movie,” interjects Hanks. “It was so funny. The last time I saw it, I went, ‘That’s Ben! When did Ben get in that scene?’ I was there that day and I don’t even remember Ben being in that scene.” For one character, Berry endured eight hours of having the skin tone all over her body lightened so she could play a 1930s high society woman. “I had a prosthetic nose, a pair of contacts and a wig,” she says. “Getting the skin to be believably Caucasian when you’re the color I am proved to be a big challenge for the makeup crew. Reiner Bajo Tom Hanks as Isaac Sachs in 'Cloud Atlas.' “But it was fun every morning to put on our new skin, and to see what everyone else did.” On a Monday, Hanks says he might receive a call sheet informing him to show up on one set to film a sequence set in the far-flung future. On a Tuesday, he might have to show up at another part of Berlin’s mammoth Babelsberg Studio to play an 1850s doctor for a different movie-within-the-movie. “That actually was the process, and I have to say, that was the fun of it,” says Berry. “Just when you got a little bored and tired of being in the 1800s, all of a sudden you’re Continue Reading

From ‘Sully’ to ‘Doctor Strange,’ 20 must-see fall movies

For film lovers, the summer of 2016 was something of a mixed bag.There were a few expected highs, with “Captain America: Civil War” chief among them in terms of pure pop pleasure. Viewers were also subjected to a number of disheartening lows (we’re looking at your frustrating incoherence, “Suicide Squad”), small-scale sleeper successes (“The Fits” and “Hell or High Water”) and solid movies that failed to find the right audience (step right up, “Star Trek Beyond” and “Ghostbusters.”)But, to borrow a phrase from sports, there’s always next season. This weekend sees the unofficial end of summer, and from now until the first day of winter (Dec. 21), there are plenty of films demanding our attention. Some are big, some are small, and all appear interesting for one reason or another.Here are our 20 reasons to go to the movies this fall:“Sully” (Sept. 9): Tom Hanks stars as pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger in director Clint Eastwood’s dramatization of the 2009 “miracle on the Hudson.” Eastwood’s track record with true life stories is far from perfect; we’re hoping this is more “Letters From Iwo Jima” (2006) and less “J. Edgar” (2011).“London Road” (Sept. 9): In recent years, Tom Hardy has shown himself to be one of the most unpredictable movie stars of his generation, with 2015 alone finding him in the divisive, bold Oscar-winners “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “The Revenant.” The fall, he’s in “London Road,” a rather unconventional musical about life in a small town that’s home to shocking murders. LOOK BACK:  Director George Miller talks "Mad Max: Fury Road"“Blair Witch” (Sept. 16): Director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett conjured up seriously cool scares with “The Guest” (2014), and now they’re unleashing Continue Reading

William Shatner talks Count Basie Theatre show

For more than half a century, William Shatner has held a prominent place in the hearts and minds of fans the world over as a beloved, even iconic, actor.But to hear Shatner tell it, his current one-man show "Shatner's World: We Just Live In It" finds him operating in a mode not all that different than that of a classic jazz master.“Jazz, being that free form of music, it does have structure and it does have free form, and that’s approximate of what I’m doing on stage,” Shatner said. “There’s a form involved, in that I’ve got cues to give backstage for the presentation of the visuals, but within that form I’m constantly changing and ad-libbing and using the moment for inspiration."Fittingly, "Shatner's World" will be coming to Red Bank's Count Basie Theatre, the historic Monmouth Street venue named for the Red Bank native and big band jazz legend, on Friday, Feb. 5."To be at the Count Basie Theatre," Shatner told the Asbury Park Press' "Fan Theory" podcast, "is to relate to the ability to have jazz in your soul, because that ability to be inspirational is proper to every artistic medium.”Long before Shatner was Captain James T. Kirk on the iconic sci-fi television series "Star Trek," he was a star of the live stage, first in his native Canada and then on Broadway.In 2012, Shatner returned to the Great White Way for the first time since a 1961 production of "A Shot in the Dark" that co-starred Julie Harris and Walter Matthau when "Shatner's World" ran at the Music Box Theatre on West 45th Street before going on tour.A filmed performance of "Shatner's World" was broadcast to more than 630 movie theaters across the country through the Digital Broadcast Network of Fathom Events in 2014."Shatner's World" covers nearly all 84 of the actor's years, from his youth in the Great White North to his ascension to television hero and the ups and downs of his personal and professional Continue Reading

No superhero, but super star Natalie Portman will play lead in ‘Thor’

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Natalie Portman has been cast as the female lead in "Thor," Marvel Studios' adaptation of its comic book featuring the Norse god of thunder. Kenneth Branagh is directing.Portman will play Jane Foster, who in early comic-book lore was a nurse who became Thor's first love. The studio said the character will be updated for the feature adaptation, with Foster a doctor-scientist type.Chris Hemsworth ("Star Trek") is already cast as Thor. Tom Hiddleston is Loki, the god of mischief who serves as the movie's villain."Thor" is Marvel's stab at an epic fantasy adventure, spanning from present-day Earth to the realm of Asgard. The story centers on Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. As punishment, Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans. But once here, he learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth."(Jane) is the human lead, so to speak, who helps ground the film in reality," said Marvel's Kevin Feige, who is producing the movie.He added: "We wanted to avoid that syndrome of just because the hair is up and they're wearing glasses it means they're smart. ... We wanted somebody that can have the chemistry that the best of our Marvel couples have had, whether it's Tobey (Maguire) and Kirsten (Dunst) or Tony (Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr.) and Pepper (Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow)."The film will be released in the U.S. on May 20, 2011, distributed by Paramount Pictures.Portman is about to start work on the comedy "Your Highness," directed by David Gordon Green, and in the fall will shoot David Aronofsky's supernatural thriller "Black Swan." Her comic-book and fantasy movie resume includes the recent "Star Wars" trilogy and "V for Vendetta." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Why remake ‘V’? New series tugs at human fascination with what’s out there

As long as we look up at the sky and we're not sure what-all is out there, Outer Space will always be a little like that unopened closet in horror movies. There's always the chance something that we can't see is waiting to kill us. Which never stops at least one cheerleader from opening the door anyhow. That's as good an explanation as you're going to get for why ABC has resurrected "V," a sci-fi adventure story in which aliens (called Visitors or Vs for short) suddenly show up in the skies over all of Earth's major cities on one otherwise uneventful morning. The Vs are a particularly disturbing sort of alien because they don't immediately start blasting away with death ray guns. Instead, they speak soothingly about peace, healing and harmony, making millions of Earthlings quickly conclude the Vs are way cool. It's only another, smaller group of Earthlings who suspect the Vs are disingenuous liars setting us up for something terrible. Clearly this is a setup ripe for allegory, both historical and contemporary. In the original "V," which ran as a two-segment miniseries on NBC in 1983 and 1984, the Visitors were generally taken to represent the Nazis who came to dominate Germany in the 1930s. The new edition, lacking any immediately obvious references to Germany, seems to be left open for different interpretations. The face of the Vs is a charismatic woman named Anna (changed from Diana in the NBC version) whose first step in winning the hearts and minds of Earth people is to offer to cure their diseases. Since America's current real-life President is accused every day on talk radio and TV of having a Messiah complex, and since his first major presidential initiative is a health care plan, let's assume someone is going to find a connection there. One suspects that wasn't what ABC and the "V" producers had in mind. But from last night's opening episode it's hard to argue they had any other specific thing in mind, either. For us Continue Reading

William Shatner to trek the U.S. in wild Rivet Motors 3-wheel “Landjet” motorcycle

William Shatner, known the world over as Star Trek's Captain Kirk, is trading his trusty warp drive for some old-fashioned grumbling V-8 power with this insane creation, the Rivet Motors "Landjet." Designed and created by Illinois-based Wrench Works, a specialist in building customized bikes, this 3-wheel motorcycle is powered by a V-8 engine, mounted ahead of the driver's seat. FOLLOW DAILY NEWS AUTOS ON FACEBOOK. 'LIKE' US HERE. The body is bare metal and has exposed rivets which, according to Rivet Motors website, draws much of its inspiration from the World War II B-17 bomber. In the video below, Shatner details what he wants most from this ride that, ironically, looks more like something the Klingon Empire would use to battle its old foe and The Federation. Shatner, who at 84-years-old is showing no signs of slowing down, is going to personally take the controls of the Rivet Motors trike for a blast from Chicago to Los Angeles. The drive begins June 23 outside of Chicago, according to the Associated Press, and will take 8 days to complete. Stops along the way include St. Louis; Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Flagstaff and Las Vegas. The trip is being done partly to promote the bike itself, which will be sold in limited quantities for an as-yet-undisclosed price, as well as to promote the American Legion veterans support charity. Will the production bike look as wild as the renderings? Probably not. For starters, the promotional images don't show any visible means of steering this beast. Then again, when you're talking about a guy who boldy goes where no man has gone before, well, suddenly anything is possible. Continue Reading