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
5:00 am
Thu September 11, 2014

A Simple, Satisfying Adventure In An Unusual Land

Land Ho! is a very gentle, enjoyable escape from the boredom of the old routine, as we accompany a couple of retirees on a vacation trip across (of all places) Iceland and encounter a series of mild adventures that are as satisfying to us as to them-- in spite of a lack of real excitement, and a lot of smiles and chuckles instead of laughs and guffaws.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu September 4, 2014

A Dismal Tribute To A Star Of The Past

The movie title Cantinflas was the professional name of Mexican comic Mario Moreno, whom Charlie Chaplin called "the best and most beloved comedian in the world," and who surely deserves a better tribute than the movie Cantinflas, which will probably leave you wondering what all the fuss could have been about.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu August 28, 2014

'Calvary' Provides No Easy Answers

Calvary is of a type with Heaven Is For Real, a movie about a religious subject but not really a religious movie. It isn't trying to sell you anything, except maybe that people are complex and troubled and worthy of sympathy almost whatever they do.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu August 21, 2014

'Boyhood' Is Eventful, But Lacks Emotional Punch

Writer-director Richard Linklater took 12 years to make Boyhood, because he wanted to show the physical changes in Ellar Coltrane from his first day at school to his graduation from high school 12 years later. And the physical developments of Coltrane and his sister in the movie are fascinating to watch.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu August 14, 2014

'Journey' Isn't Flashy, But Is Pleasant And Gorgeous

Helen Mirren would prefer crisp asparagus in 'The Hundred-Foot Journey'

The Hundred-Foot Journey starts out rather unpromisingly, with violence in India and a tyrannical father and one of those tiresome young sons who seems to be in rebellion against everything (at least everything his father suggests).

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Not Much To Hold On To In 'Most Wanted'

This is Philip Seymour Hoffman, but that's about all we know for sure in 'A Most Wanted Man'
Credit rottentomatoes.com

A Most Wanted Man is another one of those gloomy John le Carré spy thrillers in which everybody is venal and ruthless-- maybe in a good cause, but hardly admirable for all of that.

Everybody has secret schemes and counterpurposes till it's difficult to keep track of who is betraying whom, and even if you can tell who you're supposed to sympathize with, it isn't easy to do it.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Braff Wastes Opportunities In 'Wish I Was Here'

Maybe they're laughing with him and not at him?
Credit rottentomatoes.com

One myth Hollywood will never give up is that a desire to be in show business is a divine calling never to be outgrown.

In Wish I Was Here, Zach Braff's character cannot support his family and apparently peaked his acting career with a dandruff commercial. His wife, Kate Hudson, asks him whether his dream of playing a costumed comic-book superhero is the only dream his family of four is allowed, and his father, Mandy Patinkin, tells him that at some point he has to support his family.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu July 24, 2014

It's Hard To Care About Anyone In Ensemble 'Third Person'

A good cast with nothing to do in Paul Haggis' 'Third Person'
Credit rottentomatoes.com

Two viewings of the movie and discussions with six other viewers failed to uncover anybody who claimed to understand Third Person. I suspect that a third viewing would have led me to a pretty complete understanding, but Third Person is nowhere near good enough to sit through three times.

But I can give you a few hints that might help you get through it with less bewilderment than the seven of us suffered.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu July 17, 2014

'Apes' Could Become A Classic of Its Genre

Credit rottentomatoes.com

Ten years after the action of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, we have Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  Surely, the dawn should precede the rise of anything, but let's not squabble with our blessings-- The Dawn is maybe even better than The Rise was.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu July 10, 2014

'Tammy' Shows New Side of McCarthy

Credit rottentomatoes.com

Melissa McCarthy has many reasons to be happy with her new movie Tammy.

She produced, co-wrote and stars, and her husband co-wrote, directed and takes an important small role as the boss who fires her and starts the whole thing going. McCarthy is also more attractive both in her physical appearance and in the character she plays than she was in either Bridesmaids or The Heat, partly because Tammy is a gentle, people-loving movie without satiric edge or the brutality of a police story.

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