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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The three reviews I have read about Arrival all seemed to be about the opening situation; they said that Amy Adams was recruited to establish communication with a group of outer-space aliens who had landed in various spots all over the world, and that her military boss was Forest Whitaker and a fellow scientist was Jeremy Renner, but they said almost nothing about anything beyond that starting situation.

Hacksaw Ridge ​is interestingly similar to the Gary Cooper classic Sergeant York. Both tell the supposedly true story of an unsophisticated young man with religious objections to killing, even in war, who goes on to win a Congressional Medal of Honor in combat without changing his religious beliefs, though only Hacksaw Ridge has him doing this without so much as touching a weapon.

It is a puzzle to me that all the promotions I have seen for Denial insist that Rachel Weisz has to prove that the Holocaust really happened. There are hundreds of hours of newsreels to prove that, and hundreds of survivors of the death camps, not to mention liberators and railroad records and documents including confessions to prove that. And anyway, that's not what she's asked to prove.

The Girl on the Train is one of those movies you admire more than you really like; you even rather admire yourself for going to see it when so many things would be more relaxing.

In these days of mayhem and massacre on the screen, The Birth of a Nation is not as brutal as you might expect; the inevitable flogging scene is almost too gentle. But where it is brutal, it is almost unbearable: I do not wish ever to see the mercifully brief scene of dental work by hammer and chisel again.

With Deepwater Horizon, Hollywood just about reaches its ultimate goal: a movie that consists simply of one long series of orange explosions, black smoke, and quick-cut action violence.

Denzel Washington's Magnificent Seven is a sight better than most westerns in most important ways, but it labors under the same handicaps that bothered the old Yul Brynner version lo these many years ago. Both are eventually based on the still-older Japanese movie Seven Samurai, and the samurai legend of Japan is pretty incompatible with the American western.

Snowden is not as propagandistic as I expected it to be, being an Oliver Stone movie about a big political issue; but it isn't particularly effective as either message or entertainment.

One of the main problems faced by Clint Eastwood as the director of the movie Sully is that the famous episode of Captain Chesley Sullenberger discovering that his airplane was disabled and managing to turn it around and land it in in the Hudson River lasted a total of 208 seconds.

The Light Between Oceans ​was a joy to me in so many ways. For one thing, it had a genuinely linear plot, one in which every succesive episode developed from the one before it, instead of just being one of a series of incidents that could have been in any order, like the ones in Mad Max: Fury Road or even Nebraska.

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