Peter Travers: Obama Doc ‘The Final Year’ Will Have You in Tears

Remember the last months of the Obama administration, when diplomacy was still a preferred form of negotiation? If so, you’re likely to lose your mind watching The Final Year, a hindsight-is-20/20 documentary in which we watch a government crumble. Fully expecting a Democratic victory in the 2016 elections, the White House gave director Greg Barker an unprecedented 90 days to follow President Obama’s foreign policy team to 21 countries as they chased peace in Syria, a climate accord in Paris and a nuclear arms deal in Iran. Cementing relationships with Vietnam and opening doors to Cuba were also on the agenda. Participants included Secretary of State John Kerry, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power. 

Just don’t expect to be privy to every aspect of these discussions. There’s an official stamp to much of what’s presented in this posthumous portrait of a late-act presidency that suggests Obama’s legacy is what’s at stake here – and not the full story. Still, there are choice moments, notably In Nigeria where Power labors to arrange the release of girls taken by Boko Haram; in Greenland, where Kerry dolefully lays eyes on a shrinking glacier; and in Japan, where Obama becomes the first American President to speak at Hiroshima. Notably, the cameras are also rolling in D.C. on election night, where Rhodes – a speechwriter known as the voice of Obama – looks on in horror as Hillary Clinton is not elected the first female leader of the free world. 

What chills most about The Final Year is how unprepared Team Obama was for the victory of Trump and the ease with which many of its hard-won policies could be unraveled. Was it blindness, hubris or a combination of both? The documentary lets that question hang in the air as a cautionary tale about what happens when a democracy is caught by surprise. It can’t happen here? It just did. Now what? Welcome to our new national nightmare.

Timothee Chalamet Protests Woody Allen and Donates Salary to Time’s Up

Timothee Chalamet

Protests Woody Allen

Donates Salary to Time’s Up

1/16/2018 6:18 AM PST

“Call Me by Your Name” star Timothee Chalamet apparently wants to say something about Woody Allen, who just directed him in a film, but he’s not allowed to say it so he’s donating his salary to Time’s Up.

Chalamet, who starred in Allen’s upcoming film, “A Rainy Day in New York,” took his cue from co-star Rebecca Hall, who also pledged her salary to Time’s Up.

It’s apparent the stars are creating distance from their director because of Allen’s relationship with step-daughter Soon-Yi whom he had a relationship with and later married, and also the allegations of sexual assault involving adopted daughter Dylan Farrow.

Here’s what’s interesting … Chalamet said, “I have been asked in a few recent interviews about my decision to work on a film with Woody Allen last summer … I’m not able to answer the question directly because of contractual obligations.”

Translation … there must be some sort of anti-disparagement clause in his contract. Chalamet does not say whether he was familiar with the Dylan Farrow and Soon-Yi stories when he accepted the role.

He wrote, “I don’t want to profit from my work on the film.”

He’s donating his salary to Time’s Up, the LGBT Center in New York and RAINN, saying, “I want to be worthy of standing shoulder to shoulder with the brave artists who are fighting for all people to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

Sen. Kamala Harris Dancing in MLK Day Parade

Sen. Kamala Harris

Feeling the Beat

For MLK Day Parade

1/15/2018 3:08 PM PST

Sen. Kamala Harris made the most of her Grand Marshal title at Kindom Day Parade in L.A. by getting up close and personal with the bands … and the Senator was getting it. 

The junior senator from Cali did a little — emphasis on little — dancing when a drum corps started doing their thing Monday during the parade. Natalie Portman was hanging with Sen. Harris much of the day, and recorded her moves.

Kamala and Natalie also joined in for a “Time’s Up” chant during the 33rd annual parade. 

Here’s the thing … there’s been a lot of buzz about Kamala running for prez in 2020 — so this dancing vid could get a lot of play down the road. Just sayin’. 

Chris Pratt Makes a Run For It On Movie Set

Chris Pratt

Bet On Me, Of Course …

Not the Horse!!!

1/15/2018 12:31 PM PST

In a race against a horse, who’d win — the horse or Chris Pratt?

If you guessed the horse and not the guy who plays Star-Lord in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” then you’re probably right — but that didn’t stop Pratt from sizing up a horse while filming an extensive workout scene Sunday in LA.

Unclear what movie he’s shooting, or if he’s actually racing the horse — but Chris is focusing on work after the split from Anna Faris. Seems to be paying off, because he’s in great shape.

Chris Martin and Dakota Johnson Take Romantic Walk on Beach

Chris Martin & Dakota Johnson

Our Love Life’s a Beach!!!

And Kenny G Agrees

1/15/2018 10:24 AM PST

Dakota Johnson and Chris Martin are going public — the new couple strolled on the beach over the weekend, packed on some PDA and, for good measure … hung out with Kenny G.

Chris and Dakota have been dating for a few months, but previously took great measures to keep it private. That all changed Sunday in Malibu … where the “Fifty Shades of Grey” star and Chris looked inseparable. 

They had some unexpected company on the beach when Kenny G popped up, sadly without his saxophone. So, no Coldplay-Kenny G collab.

That Dakota’s a lucky woman.

Aziz Ansari Accused of Sexual Assault

Aziz Ansari

Accused of Sexual Assault

1/14/2018 7:03 AM PST

Breaking News

Aziz Ansari has been accused of sexual assault by a woman who claims he repeatedly got sexually aggressive with her despite her protestations.

The woman — who remains anonymous — claims she went on a date with him last year and ended up in his Tribeca apartment.  She claims he almost immediately began kissing, fondling and undressing her and then said he was going to grab a condom. The woman says she asked him to slow down, but he continued and performed oral sex on her.

She says when he started sticking his fingers in her throat she used “verbal and non-verbal cues” to indicate her discomfort. 

The woman says Ansari doesn’t know if he got the message, but when it eventually registered she said he said, “Of course, it’s only fun if we’re both having fun.”

She says Ansari continued to push himself on her.  She says she eventually left in tears. 

The woman, who first told her story to Babe.net, texted Ansari the next day, “Last night might have been fun for you it wasn’t for me.  When we got back to your place, you ignored clear, non-verbal cues; you kept going with advances.  You had to have noticed I was uncomfortable.”  She then described part of the encounter.

The woman says she decided to come forward after she saw Ansari wear a Times Up pin at the Golden Globes, where he won Best Actor. 

We reached out to Ansari’s rep … so far, no word back.

Nancy Grace Says if Allegations are True Harvey Weinstein Needs to Do Hard Prison Time

Nancy Grace

Harvey Weinstein Needs to Do Hard Time

… If Allegations are True

1/14/2018 7:49 AM PST

EXCLUSIVE

Nancy Grace wants the courts to show Harvey Weinstein no mercy … but she has grave reservations that will ever happen.

Nancy arrived at LAX late Saturday when our photog asked about Weinstein.  Listen carefully … she says on the one hand he should end up in a tough prison environment IF the allegations against him prove true.  But then she suggest there’s no way the allegations aren’t true given the number of woman who have come forward. 

Weinstein has maintained all of the sexual encounters in question were consensual. 

Grace is pessimistic Weinstein will do time, but if he does she thinks the cushy minimum security prisons should be off the table. 

Diana Ross Scared to Death During Hawaii Missile Warning

Diana Ross

Scared to Death

During Hawaiian Missile Warning

1/14/2018 6:34 AM PST

EXCLUSIVE

Diana Ross seemed more than happy to return to L.A. after enduring Saturday’s Hawaiian scare.

Our photog caught up with the legendary singer at LAX Saturday and Diana clearly had the same reaction as everyone on the islands … blind fear.  

She had been vacationing in Hawaii and the hotel staff corralled the guests and took them underground.

On a lighter note, Diana laughed when we said she’s still got it … referring to her dance outing with son Evan at The Abbey.

Tom Cruise Makes Second Attempt at ‘Mission Impossible’ Stunt After Injury

Tom Cruise

If at First You Don’t Succeed …

1/13/2018 7:40 AM PST

Tom Cruise doesn’t give up easily … he got back on the horse after getting badly injured during a “Mission Impossible 6” stunt.

Tom went back to the scene of the crime …. jumping out of a high window and running across the glass roof of the Blackfriars Train Station in London, trying to jump from building to building. Back in August he failed, falling short and hitting the building on the other side. Cruise limped away and collapsed. He suffered a broken ankle.

We don’t have pics of the completion of the jump, but it appears he made it.

55 and still kickin’.

Peter Travers: ‘Proud Mary’ Shoots Down Its Own Megawatt Star

Taraji P. Henson is such a firecracker she almost makes you believe Proud Mary might have been a decent crime flick – if she fired the asses of the clueless dudes who wrote and directed it and took on those jobs herself. Surely, the Oscar-nominated actress (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), the one who lights up the screen in Hidden Figures and as Cookie Lyon on TV’s Empire, could have just done an improvisation on this premise and come up with something livelier than this dipshit drivel. As the film’s executive producer, she had the power to do it; now it’s too late for the woulda, shoulda, coulda. Every paying audience member deserves their 12 bucks back.

Henson plays Mary, a hired gun working out of Boston who becomes a mother protector to Danny (Jahi Di’Allo Winston), a 13-year-old orphan. That’s the least the hit woman can do since she herself orphaned the kid, who runs his own scam game under the tutelage of a Yiddish-speaking hood (Xander Berkeley). As a teen, Mary was taken under the wing of Benny (a slumming Danny Glover), a crime kingpin who taught her everything she knows about contract killing and watched as she fell for his creepy son, Tom (Billy Brown). The idea here is that Mary can make changes for the youngster and herself by going straight and getting out of the game.

Never mind that the reformed menace trope has been done better by Jean Reno and Natalie Portman in The Professional and by Gena Rowlands in Gloria. Or that Henson is set up like Pam Grier in Foxy Brown or Jackie Brown (take your pick), with the Proud Mary song recalling Tina Turner at her feistiest. John Fogerty, who wrote the lyrics to that classic anthem, has expressed his disapproval over having his song co-opted for a cheap crime story about a hitwoman “killing for the Man every night and day.” Can’t blame him. We’d happily pay to see blaxploitation cred reimagined for a new millennium. But director Babak Najafi (London Has Fallen) connects the dots in the rote script without ever connecting emotionally with its characters. It’s one thing to watch Henson’s Mary shoot her way out of a world of trigger-happy male oppressors. It’s another to watch her continually get shot down by a movie that’s not worth her time – or yours. It should be ashamed of itself.