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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He Named Me Malala is a documentary made remarkable mostly by the personality of the Pakistani girl who won the Nobel Peace Prize at age 17, and survived a Taliban murder attempt with no more than slight impairments of her eyesight and hearing and a slightly crooked smile. And the movie's highly unusual use of animation not only doesn't rob it of realism, but elevates it almost to the level of legend and folklore.

I cannot join the almost universal praise for Sicario, which at least for me had problems both technically and in content.

Technically, even with my theater earphones set up so high that normal conversation blew my head off, I could not hear what a lot of the whispering and murmuring, especially by Emily Blunt, was about. Not that it mattered a lot, because there isn't much said.

The Intern is such a gentle little movie that it's a little hard to see what writer-director Nancy Myers is trying to do.

    

Black Mass is a brilliantly successful realistic gangster movie made exceptional by a remarkable performance by Johnny Depp.

KMUW movie reviewer Jim Erickson says a new movie is neither scary nor very good.

It may be best to just take Mistress America as a happy little character comedy about a group of old acquaintances who learn some things about themselves and each other and how unexpected life can be. But I keep seeing more than that in it-- a thematic consistency that may suggest a more serious intention.

I'm puzzled as to why I found We Are Your Friends so entertaining.

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.

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