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 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.

"Don't breathe," because the man is blind and can't see you, but he's about three feet away and he's killed one of you already and is trying to kill the rest. That's the basic situation of the new thriller Don't Breathe, and there isn't much more to the plot than that.

The classic Charlton Heston movie Ben-Hur won eleven Academy Awards, and it might seem that a new version is little in demand. But the 1959 version was about four hours long, and the new Ben-Hur is about half that and, if not Oscar caliber, is a pretty good movie in its own right. And it cost $100 million to make. So even though it's somewhat faith-based in its story, it's well worth a look.

Florence Foster Jenkins is a couple of hours with people you like who are doing things that make you cheer them on.