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 April 23, 2015

'True Story' Is A Real Mystery

Jonah Hill and James Franco aren't here to make you laugh this time.
Credit rottentomatoes.com

I'm neither embarrassed nor afraid of spoilers when I admit that I didn't understand everything that went on in the new Jonah Hill and James Franco movie True Story, because I don't think I was supposed to understand it all.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Thu April 16, 2015

Pacino Is Exceptional In 'Danny Collins'

Danny Collins is a thoroughly enjoyable comedy-drama made exceptional by a remarkably restrained performance by the usually over-the-top Al Pacino.

He plays an aging rock star whose style has become so outdated that his sellout audiences feature expanding waistlines, bald heads and grey hair, and at one point it is suggested that his audience is too old to be out as late as 9 p.m.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Thu April 9, 2015

'Furious 7' Is An Absurd Delight

I mean, how could you not love this?
Credit rottentomatoes.com

Even people who have had driver's licenses long enough to think of cars as transportation instead of thrill rides might get a kick out of the sheer preposterousness of the latest Fast and Furious movie.

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Commentary
5:30 am
Thu April 2, 2015

'It Follows' Is Effectively Creepy

It Follows is a pretty effective horror movie that may be too mysterious for its own good.

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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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