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.

Ways to Connect

American Ultra has a promising premise, but does so little with it that all we eventually get is a succession of the kind of bang-bang action that all but forbids thematic or character development, but usually satisfies the undemanding audience these days.

Ricki and the Flash is a peculiar movie in that it has Meryl Streep singing and banging away on a guitar as a mother who pretty much deserted her husband and children some decades ago and doesn't repent doing so even though her musical career doesn't even support her so she can quit her daytime job clerking at Total Foods. The ending is fairly predictable except that it doesn't require more of her than we can stretch our disbelief to accept.

The Gift is a totally satisfying movie that shifts between psychological crime thriller and psychological horror thriller, without losing suspense and fascination, and without resorting to gore or easy jump-out-of-the-dark cliches.

Trainwreck starts out with a lengthy scene of two people having sex, the man with deep emotion and the woman with such concern over technique that her continual instructions drain the situation of any satisfaction for either one of them. It later has a scene emphasizing why people do not sleep together face-to-face. It is a love-vs.-sex movie that is not shy about facing the facts of its theme.

20th Century Fox

Mr. Holmes purports to be about Sherlock Holmes, but it presents us with a Sherlock Holmes in extreme old age, without a 221B Baker Street or a Dr. Watson, living in a rural area with no crime in sight, keeping bees.

Self/less starts out with a very promising thesis, when Ben Kingsley, a trillionaire who feels life slipping away from him, buys a new body into which his mind is transferred for a good many more years of life. But he gradually comes to realize that he has bought more than he bargained for-- he has thoughts and memories that are not his own, and they seem to be gaining control of him.

The most interesting thing about Magic Mike XXL was that the audience I saw it with was 90% women and adored it-- but to me, it was fun, but from beginning to end a male fantasy.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a dreadfully bad title, but not exactly a bad movie, though in the end it doesn't seem to be about much of anything.

Dope is getting a lot of enthusiastic reviews, but I'm told it is not winning the Wichita moviegoers, and this is one case where I have to vote with the majority.