Jim Erickson

Movie reviewer

Jim Erickson has been KMUW's film reviewer since 1974. He came to Wichita State University in 1964 from the University of Texas in Austin. He taught narrative in literature and film from 1966 until his retirement in 1997. His favorite film is Citizen Kane.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Thu March 26, 2015

'Gunman' Wastes Potential

Sean Penn in 'The Gunman'

Actor Sean Penn has been so deeply involved in the social problems of Africa that it seems odd that he has gotten himself into as shallow a movie about Africa as The Gunman.

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Movie Review
5:00 am
Thu March 19, 2015

'Run All Night' Will Leave You Tired And Confused

Credit rottentomatoes.com

Based on my unsupported hunch that Liam Neeson action thriller should be a little better than most action thrillers, I would guess that Run All Night pretty well justifies my avoidance of action thrillers in general.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Thu March 12, 2015

'Second Best' Nearly As Good As The First

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, like most sequels, may not be quite as good as its original, but it's not far from it, a warm little character comedy that looks as if it was made by people who like people, and that's a rare quality these days.

The ensemble cast is much the same as in number one, and there are half a dozen love stories plus the question of Dev Patel's determination to buy another hotel. Obviously, the Marigold Hotel is doing well under Patel and Maggie Smith's management.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Rethinking 'Birdman'

Michael Keaton in 'Birdman'

Because of all the fuss about Birdman, I saw it again and must admit I have a lot more respect for it on the second try.

I think by original review was too concerned about the transitions between scenes of the past and mental action and shifting points of view, and I didn't concentrate on the scenes themselves, which seem to work together pretty clearly to represent the complexities of a complicated world full of complicated people trying to work together.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Thu February 26, 2015

'Still Alice' Is Worth The Difficulty

Julianne Moore in 'Still Alice'

Still Alice is a movie masterpiece that is not a pleasant experience to watch.

Julianne Moore slowly disintegrates from Alzheimer's before our eyes, and her performance is so compelling that I, at least, kept telling myself, "This is only a movie, I can escape it soon."

But you really can't. We all know that people are going through this dreadful process every day, and none of us can feel safe from it ourselves.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Thu February 19, 2015

'Fifty Shades' Improves On The Novel

I and a prominent Wichitan, whose name I did not ask for permission to use, agreed that the movie of Fifty Shades of Grey is nowhere nearly as bad as the Rotten Tomatoes and other reviews make it out to be, and I can personally testify that it is very much better than E.L. James' all-but-unreadable novel.

Just assigning actors to portray James' undeveloped characters would have given them at least the personalities of human beings, and Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan do what they can to make them interesting.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Thu February 12, 2015

'The Babadook' Will Chill Your Blood

The new Australian horror cheapie The Babadook got a test run at the Palace West a couple weekends ago and went over well enough that it's been booked into a full run at the Palace, and lovers of horror movies should not miss it.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Thu February 5, 2015

'Black Or White' Is As Thoughtful As It Is Funny

Jillian Estell and Kevin Costner in 'Black or White'

I know little about seven-year-old children and I understand less about why people want to be involved with them. So I approached Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer's new movie Black or White with no expectations that I would enjoy it as much as I did.

Costner and Spencer are involved in a custody battle over new child star Jillian Estell, who we should be seeing a lot of from this picture on. And there is no Shirley Temple cuteness to Estell or stereotype in anybody.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Aniston Is Unusually Real In 'Cake'

Jennifer Aniston in 'Cake'

Some people can accomplish remarkable things despite the fact that they are in constant physical pain-- John F. Kennedy, for example.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu January 22, 2015

There's More To 'American Sniper' Than Patriotism And Violence

Credit rottentomatoes.com

American Sniper is Clint Eastwood's latest picture of men at war, and it isn't a pretty picture. The director who in 1986 tried in Heartbreak Ridge to make something noble and heroic out of the operation in Grenada is now looking at the less-than-John Wayne heroics of snipers.

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