Diary Of A Wimpy Kid :The Long Haul

Watching Wimpy Kid movies is probably an opportunity for adults to have a snooze whilst younger kids are watching the films, but I actually enjoyed this enough to pay attention throughout. 

This road trip movie plays like the Lampoons road disasters and it’s the usual Collection of individual scenes which are able to be cobbled together to make a feature length running time. Rodrick the annoying older brother is still one of the most entertainment factors. Alicia Silverstone as the mum who wants to go back to a time before smart phones pulls the family through this trip to grandmas which has many many things go wrong. 

Very basic entertainment but easy to watch.  

The Belko Experiment 

Written by James Gunn (Guardians Of The Galaxy), this social experiment is just one of a hundred films where society get to hunt each other or cower in fear. Lord Of The Flies up to The Hunger Games uses this excuse to make movies where the audience just want to escape to a fantasy set up and wonder how they’d fair if the had to fight to survive. 

With a cast of “I’ve seen her/him before, but can’t remember where” who get dispatched in an order which you may not guess from their level of fame, this brutal tale of a government office block which gets sealed up and given orders over a tannoy system is just fun. Grisly, blood red fun. 

The voice crackles over the tannoy ‘you have an hour to have 30 of you dead by any means necessary or we will kill 60 of you’. 

Factions are formed and we see who can take the pressure when push comes to shove or meat cleaver comes to face. There are some micro frames of gore which imprint on your eyes and are made all the more effective. 

It’s gruesome but so far fetched that you chuckle along willingly as more orders are given out. 

As unoriginal as it is, I always enjoy these movies and recommend this one in particular. 

Kubo and the two strings (2016) 

Director: Travis Knight

Running time: 1 hour 45 mins

Cast: Art Parkinson, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara, Charlize Theron. 


Laika studios have done it again. After the wobble (in my opinion) that was The Boxtrolls, the magic is captured again as this far eastern flavoured tale of a split apart family, delights both the eye and heart. 

The boy Kubo learns he must acquire a magical armour if he is to survive his aunts and grandfather as they seek his other eye, the first which they took when he was a baby. That brings me to the darkness at its heart and it’s been the same since Coraline where eyes were swapped for buttons. 

It’s as though these films are made for adults who are kids at heart firstly and then made acceptable for young ones to view if they can handle it. 

The use of origami is masterful and no doubt painstakingly recreated. The Laika humour is peppered throughout and is brilliantly delivered by Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes and Charlize Theron and not forgetting Art Parkinson as Kubo. 

The evil aunt sisters are voiced by Rooney Mara and are like something from Clive Barkers horror novels. 

In short I loved it. But I still love Paranorman and Coraline more. 

The themes of death and revenge are not played for a kiddie crowd but delivered in black and white touching any audience member who has dealt with a dying family member and bringing tears of understanding. 

Just a beautifully constructed piece of storytelling and yet one that the whole family will take something from. 


C Whitehouse 2016

The Purge: Election Year (2016) 

Director: James DeMonaco

Running time: 1 hr 46mins 

Cast: Frank Griilo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Myketti Williamson, Joseph Soria, Terry Serpico. 

Frank Grillo stars yet again as Leo who is now head of security for a senator played by Lost’s Elizabeth Mitchell. It just so happens that this is the first year that nobody is exempt from the purge so security is heightened. For those who didn’t know, the purge is an annual day where killing is legalised for twelve hours so that society can let off steam. It sounded ludicrous for the first film but I’ve grown accepting of it. Naturally things go bad and Frank and the senator end up on the streets. Come on, that’s not a spoiler, it would be rubbish if that didn’t happen. Also making an appearance is Bubba from Forest Gump, Myketti Williamson who runs a store and gets dragged into the conflicts. This time we have a baddie who is fashioned on some sort of nazi thug and to be honest she doesn’t get enough screen time. Outside of the protecting the senator thread we get further glimpses of the gangs on the streets and there tactics on the streets. The whole political angle wasn’t exactly where I wanted things to go for film three but I’ll take it. It’s true that this is the weakest one to date but I still feel it keeps its head above water. There’s blood and fighting and a cult of sorts so what more do you need for a good purge? 


C Whitehouse 2016