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

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.

The cornball title suggests some kind of filmography of a composer and the movie itself skirts cliche plot elements, but, in fact, I'll See You In My Dreams is an A-One realistic drama, excellently written and beautifully acted, one of the best grownup movies in quite some time.

Blythe Danner plays a woman whose husband died 20 years ago and whose 14-year-old dog dies, but she isn't desolate or even conspicuously lonely. She hangs around with Rhea Perlman and Mary Kay Place and June Squibb (of Nebraska fame), and that seems to be enough for her.

Spy is not just another spy spoof, a genre which I tired of quite some time ago. Spy is more lighthearted and less plot-oriented than most, and since it stars Melissa McCarthy, it can't get too close to James Bond imitations.

San Andreas is definitely of the school of Mad Max and The Avengers and Furious 7: all action and no acting.

But it is a good deal better than I expected, largely because it has better characterizations and no hackneyed human villainy. In fact, it has not human villainy at all--all the violence and destruction are acts of unassisted nature.


Far from the Madding Crowd is a historical love story that respects Victorian England more than one might expect-- at no time does Carey Mulligan, in a remarkably fine performance, suggest a 20th-century heroine, which is the more remarkable in that she is a sort of early feminist.

Wild Tales is two things that are rare on the big screen, at least in Wichita: a feature made up of short stories and a subtitled movie, in Spanish from Argentina. But it leaves today, which is too bad, because it's really interesting, although not notably exciting, because the short-story format doesn't allow for much emotional buildup.

  The D Train starts out looking like a good deal of chuckle-type fun and maybe even some laughs out loud-- nothing particularly original, but an enjoyable reworking of material that is familiar but always entertaining.

To be fair, let's start by admitting that Avengers: Age of Ultron is not my kind of movie, and I went to it only because nothing else opened last Friday. And it was pretty much what I expected and almost exactly what a lot of people will want.

Ex Machina is interesting throughout, considerably more believable than most artificial-intelligence movies, but a little hard to review without giving away too much. So let me start by just warning you not to assume you know what's coming until it's already come and gone, and even then you may not know why it happened.


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.