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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Two different movies to report on today, for two very different audiences.

The relatively rare moviegoer who still looks for serious grownup entertainment on the big screen will find a real treasure in Concussion, while the more commonly found escapee from reality will find enjoyment in Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight.

The main problem with The Big Short is whether director Adam McKay succeeds in making you understand just what it is that Christian Bale, Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling are doing to the bond market that ends up with the market crash of 2008. That he never succeeded with me proves nothing, because I can almost never understand anything involving either numbers or money. And the half-dozen or so people I consulted over this problem all said I didn't need to feel ashamed of myself because they had some trouble with the problem themselves.

lucasfilm.com

    

Star Wars: The Force Awakens offers little to those who care about plot and character, but evidence is that most Star Wars fans are not much concerned about things like that, and if you want thrills and action and the feeling that you're on some kind of a ride, it should be right up your alley.

Like Trumbo a couple of weeks ago, Ron Howard's In the Heart of the Sea suffers considerable from an attempt to cram too much into a standard two-hour movie.

Trumbo tries to tell the story of the notorious Hollywood blacklist of communist talent through the story of multi-Oscared screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, and that decision leads to both its glory and its principal weakness. The glory is a remarkably convincing performance by Bryan Cranston of television's "Breaking Bad," and the principal weakness is an overplus of plots for a two-hour movie.


Creed is a first-rate boxing movie, a worthy spin-off from Sylvester Stallone’s 1977 classic Rocky. But for a number of reasons, despite what some reviewers are saying, it isn’t as good as Rocky, or at least not as entertaining.

 

Open Road Films

Spotlight is a first-rate newspaper movie about how the Boston Globe brought out the story of priests molesting children, and I can only hope it has not destroyed its box-office possibilities by being too devoted to reality.

The latest James Bond movie, Spectre, is supposed to have cost $250 million to produce, and give it credit: Every penny of that seems to be visible on the screen.

KMUW movie reviewer Jim Erickson looks at a pair of movies that deal with similar themes.

The theater announces Bridge of Spies as a thriller, and it certainly features a physically uncomfortable amount of suspense. But it's a very unusual thriller in that it offers no car chases, no gunfights, no big orange explosions, no sex and very little physical action, though the shooting down of the spy plane is as exciting a sequence as you'll see anywhere.

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