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Outside the Wire review – competent Netflix thriller toys with big ideas | Science fiction and fantasy films

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Can an action film with a bold anti-war message also trade off the vicarious thrill of watching numerous bullet-strewn battle scenes? It’s an uneasy question whose answer depends on execution, whether the moral argument has space to pierce through the mayhem. The serviceable new Netflix action thriller Outside the Wire doesn’t make an entirely convincing case (its focus is more on firepower than brainpower) but even a messily handled big idea is at least something in a genre most often lacking in them, especially on a platform that churns out mindless guff on a weekly basis.

In the near future, Harp (Damson Idris), a US drone pilot, is helping to fight a war in eastern Europe aided by “Gumps”, military machines trained to destroy the enemy and protect human soldiers. During one difficult evening, Harp makes a controversial decision and the resulting carnage takes him from behind a screen to out on the field, partnered up with Leo (Anthony Mackie), a notorious android officer, to show him what war is really like. But Harp soon finds out that Leo has something else on his mind.

With a touch of Training Day, a smidgen of Eagle Eye, a dash of Eye in the Sky, a pinch of Ex Machina and an extra generous serving of all the Terminator films, Outside the Wire is losing every available award for originality, yet another Netflix creation born from its algorithmic cauldron, but taken on very basic low-stakes terms, it’s a competent enough January time-filler. Like many of the company’s wannabe blockbusters, on first glance it moves like it belongs at the multiplex, but it doesn’t take the quickest of viewers to spot that it’s just a few steps behind, a DTV action flick with a slightly bigger budget than the cheaper knockoffs it takes after. The director, Mikael Håfström (who enjoyed a brief run on the big screen with 1408, Derailed and The Rite), has just about enough experience to make it mostly work, motoring ahead with agility, aided immensely by his two leads.

Idris, a British actor whose affecting work in the immigration drama Farming remains an early career high point, acquits himself with confidence in his first major lead role, the sort of duck-to-water performance that should have Marvel and Star Wars honchos taking notice. Although one hopes his career doesn’t become too populated by action fodder, as has become the case with Mackie, who always seems just a little bit better than the material he ends up with. While roles in Half Nelson, The Hurt Locker and Detroit have shown us just how much Mackie can do, too often he’s stuck in mindless running and shooting mode in dross like Triple 9 and the remakes of Point Blank and Miss Bala or lost in the chaos of the Avengers franchise. He’s as good as ever in this but it feels like a sleepwalk in the park at this stage.

The ever-shifting dynamic between the pair holds our attention far more then the rather generic battle set pieces, Håfström content to make the film feel like a video game come to life. The blandness of the action, of which there’s quite a lot, perhaps works unintentionally in favour of the anti-war debate that starts to rage, showing us the repetitive pointlessness of it all. Sadly that doesn’t seem to be the objective here and so instead, the fetishistic sea of bullets that drowns the film works against any more noble discourse. There’s a more interesting film buried here and it’s the small nuggets of debate about the military and artificial intelligence that keep us going through the bloated, almost two-hour runtime.

Giving Outside the Wire credit for gently broaching weightier subjects than the average Netflix action film is the faintest of praises, but with two magnetic performances (and strong work from the Cannes best actress winner Emily Beecham), it makes for an acceptable kick-off to what is poised to be the streamer’s biggest year yet. Let’s just hope it gets better than this.


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Loni Love Wants Keke Palmer And Raven-Symoné On The Real

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“The viewers love when she comes on.”

Loni Love has done a lot of thinking and she knows exactly who she wants to bring on The Real after Tamar Braxton, Tamara Mowry and Amanda Seales’ exit.

Two people she has in mind are Keke Palmer and Raven-Symoné, and that’s because the audience always responds so well to them. But because of Palmer’s schedule, it’s been hard to get her on the show.

“Keke is always working. That’s why we can’t get Keke. If we could ever lock her down…,” Love told Entertainment Tonight before trailing off. “She’s that young, fresh, fierce, fearless girl that we really, really love.”

“The viewers love when she comes on,” the comedian added. “I love when she comes on, too. Keke, when you get unemployed, call us.”

Thanks to her vibrant personality, Palmer will always have a job on The Real. As for Raven-Symoné, Love thinks it’ll be great to see her reunite with her Cheetah Girls co-star and The Real co-host, Adrienne Houghton, again.

“Oh my gosh, two seasons ago we had Raven come on and it was just so magical seeing her and Adrienne,” Love said. “I would love that. She’s such a fearless person. Plus the Disney stories?! I would love it.”

Seeing Raven-Symoné and Palmer on The Real is definitely something I can get behind!


Facebook/ @Raven-Symoné / Via Facebook: ravensymone

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FKA Twigs On Her Relationship With Shia LaBeouf

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“It is something in society that’s a really big problem and it’s really common,” she told Theroux while discussing her reason for going public, “but for some reason we don’t talk about it.”


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While detailing the “grooming, the pushing of [my] emotional and spiritual boundaries” that allegedly took place during their relationship, Twigs said that LaBeouf would not let her look other men in the eyes while speaking to them.


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“Being nice to a waiter, or being polite to somebody, that could be seen as me flirting or wanting to engage in some sort of relationship with somebody else, when I’m literally just ordering pasta… I was told that I knew what he was like and if I loved him, I wouldn’t look men in the eye. That was my reality for a good four months.”


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LaBeouf also allegedly demanded a “quota” of instances of physical contact in their relationship: “His previous partner apparently met this number very well, so I was inadequate compared to a previous partner of his. And I had to get the touches and the kisses correct. But I never… knew what the number exactly was.”


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If she missed the quota, she says LaBeouf would “start an argument with [her], berate [her] for hours, [and] make [her] feel like the worst person ever.”

After an incident where she says LaBoeuf “basically [strangled] me” at a gas station, Twigs called a helpline for abused women: “Her reaction to me was so serious… Somebody was taking this so seriously and wants to get me somewhere safe. That was a really massive wake-up call. That’s the time when I realised that I need a lot of help to get out of this.”


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Following the call, seeing a therapist helped Twigs get to the point where she was “able to leave and leave for good” — and while talking to Theroux, she also detailed the difficulties that partners face when trying to escape abusive relationships.


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“[Leaving the relationship] “genuinely felt impossible,” she stated. “I felt so controlled and I felt so confused and I felt so low, beneath myself, that the fear of leaving and knowing I had all this work to do to get back to just feeling OK, it was completely overwhelming.”


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“People often ask the victim or survivor, ‘Why didn’t you leave?’ instead of asking the abuser, ‘Why are you holding someone hostage through abusive behavior?’ It’s a fair question for you to ask me, but it puts a lot on me. It puts a lot on victims and survivors.”


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Twigs also opened up about the future implications that her being open about the alleged abuse relationship could have: ““All I can do is just think about myself when I’m 50 years old [and] I’ve got kids, I think about what I want to have stood for,” she explained.


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“This is something that was completely unexpected. I never thought something like this would happen to me… When I’m older, if I have a daughter, I want to be able to say, ‘This thing happened to me. And I dealt with it. It’s a big thing to heal publicly and have to do it in front of everyone, but I can do it. I’m a big girl and I can do it.”

If you or someone you know is being abused, call the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233. You can find more resources, information, and support here.

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19 Times Nicola Coughlan's Clare Was The Best Part Of "Derry Girls"

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Give her all the acting awards.


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