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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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Movie Review: 'Prisoners' Full Of Solid Twists And Turns

Hugh Jackman, brutally restrained in his treatment of Paul Dano, in 'Prisoners'

Prisoners starts out as a pretty realistic story about youngsters who go missing, morphs into a story of how people react to terrible loss and lust for vengeance-- almost an anti-vigilante story-- and ends up as a fairly standard mystery with a lot of twists and turns.

And, and is common these days, it's less a trail of clues to be unraveled to a logical solution than a story of dogged pursuit of possible suspects, until almost by accident the truth comes out.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Movie Review: The Family

Robert De Niro considers violence in 'The Family'

The Family seems to want to be a comedy, but its supposedly sympathetic protagonists react to even the slightest discontents with excessive violence.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Movie Review: Closed Circuit

Eric Bana looks for secrets behind Rebecca Hall's ear in 'Closed Circuit'
Credit rottentomatoes.com

Closed Circuit is another of those mystery thrillers in which everybody is keeping secrets from everybody else, to the extent that defense attorneys Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall are not allowed to communicate with each other, and their defendant won't speak to them.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Movie Review: The Spectacular Now

Credit rottentomatoes.com

The Spectacular Now was written by the screenwriters of 500 Days of Summer, and director James Pensoldt apparently respected their efforts, because The Spectacular Now is very nearly as great as 500 Days of Summer-- maybe just as great, because what it lacks in not having Zooey Deschanel it gains in having Shailene Woodley, whose final close-up does with facial expression more than I can imagine any other current performer doing.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Movie Review: Lee Daniels' The Butler

Credit rottentomatoes.com

I have been maligning Lee Daniels' The Butler as a movie without a central storyline, but my powers of prophecy were weak: its story is the whole civil rights movement, from beginning lunch counters to South African apartheid and the Reagan administration.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Movie Review: Paranoia

In this high-stakes thriller, Liam Hemsworth, left, is a regular guy trying to get ahead in his entry-level job.
Credit rottentomatoes.com

Paranoia wants to be serious about corporate misbehavior, but falls short because of uninvolving characters and a tendency to depart from realism in favor of melodramatic and sentimental cliches.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Movie Review: Elysium

Matt Damon is really just after medical help in 'Elysium.'
Credit rottentomatoes.com

Elysium makes a few gestures in the direction of serious interests and even current events.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Movie Review: Frances Ha

Greta Gerwig dances, plotlessly, in 'Frances Ha'
Credit rottentomatoes.com

I hope this does not represent a trend, but for the second week in a row I must try to review a movie that has no plot whatsoever.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Movie Review: Fruitvale Station

Michael B. Jordan in 'Fruitvale Station'
Credit rottentomatoes.com

SPOILER ALERT: I cannot review Fruitvale Station without giving away the ending, so if you’re planning to see it and don’t want to know what happens, you might want to stop here.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Movie Review: Pacific Rim

Our heroes prepare to battle the dragons, or fish, or whatever they're supposed to be, in 'Pacific Rim'
Credit rottentomatoes.com

Pacific Rim qualifies as almost the ultimate special-effects sci-fi movie in that it involves almost no plot and includes almost nothing but robots and monsters the size of 25-story buildings. And it proves that you don’t need a plot to be illogical and inconsistent.

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