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
12:23 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Movie Review: Ruby Sparks

Ruby Sparks is a happy surprise for at least three reasons: heroine Zoe Kazan is a fun new actress who also wrote the script, it is an enjoyable love story, and it is a pleasant comic variation on Frankenstein; unless one is very sensitive to bad language, I can’t see why anyone would not like it.

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Commentary
12:57 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Movie Review: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a fantasy movie that wants to be a charming little moral fable, but that lacks emotional charge and involves one plot problem that may give you no trouble if you keep in mind that there is nothing requiring supernatural beings to have much intelligence.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Movie Review: The Campaign

It might seem a pretty brave act to try to make a political satire reflecting our present political campaigns, since satire consists of exaggerating the ridiculous aspects of something and our present situation is hard to exaggerate. But writers Chris Henchy and Shawn Harwell and director Jay Roach, who directedGame Change and Recount and ought to know the situation, have managed to get an A- rating fromEntertainment Weekly with Campaign, which got a 2 ½ in the Eagle and would get less than that from me.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Thu August 9, 2012

Movie Review: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild is a charming little movie made unusual by the extent to which it is told from the point of view of a six-year-old child who is at no point cute in the Shirley Temple way. She is quite believable though hardly average child confronted with an awful situation, her mother long gone, her father gradually dying, and her little homeland in the Louisiana swamps under water in a flood. She isn’t a prodigy, but she has been told always to do what has to be done, and never to cry; and she has learned these lessons well.

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Commentary
8:04 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Movie Review: The Watch

The Watch is a silly little comedy that should keep everybody entertained except some who will find parts of it too grisly realistic and some who are sensitive to bad language.

It is not out to inspire thought or emotions, just laughter, and it doesn’t try to conceal its dependence on other movies, snips of which you will recognize almost like a leit motif, especially if you see more action and sci-fi movies than I do.

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Commentary
8:20 am
Thu July 26, 2012

Movie Review: Safety Not Guaranteed

Safety Not Guaranteed is a completely successful but highly peculiar little movie the Eagle’s Rod Pocowatchit started by calling “deadpan funny,” and then never mentioned humor again, referring instead to it as an “imaginative, unexpectedly wondrous journey,” “charming and warm,” using words like “heart and conscience” and “electric” and “the tenderness of the human condition.” I refer you to last week’s “GO!” section. Pocowatchit is dead on.

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Commentary
7:24 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Movie Review: Ice Age: Continental Drift

I try to avoid children’s movies because all that matters about them, most of the time, is whether they are funny and whether they may be offensive to parents, and my sense of humor does not seem to match that of thirteen-year-old boys who think nothing is as funny as gas leakages, and I do not empathize with parents who want to protect their young-uns from language they hear every day at recess. But every so often I am forced to review kiddies’ movies for lack of anything else new, and often as not I find myself thoroughly entertained from beginning to finish.

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Commentary
8:29 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Movie Review: Savages

There is nothing particularly new about Oliver Stone’s Savages: the usual good guys want out of the rackets and the usual bad guys won’t let them leave, there’s the usual one last job before retirement, the usual endless betrayals and double crosses till you neither know nor care what anybody is up to, the usual big orange explosions, the traditional blonde heroine and black-haired villainess, the requisite car chases, and the criminal superorganization that has the whole physical world bugged so you can’t go the john without being taped, but also the villains who never thing to set

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Commentary
9:46 am
Thu July 5, 2012

Movie Review: Magic Mike

Magic Mike is a quite entertaining male strip show for the ladies, with codpieces instead of g-string and musclemen, but not weightlifters, especially Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum, baring almost all in routines that represent gymnastics more than dancing, dominating most of the movie until a veneer of social concern slips in a vein of wages of sin toward the end; men will get to know what it’s been like for the ladies to have to compete with the likes of Scarlett Johansson and Angelina Jolie: I suspect that such males bodies as Magic Mike displays are just as artific

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Commentary
12:31 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Movie Review: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Entertainment Weekly says about Seeking a Friend for the End of the World that it “can be mistaken for a soft, sentimental story about a lonely middle-aged sad sack whose encounter with a quirky younger woman inspires him to make amends with his past and face the future with new serenity,” and I have to agree because that’s about what I took it to be. Except that it’s not sentimental and I can’t see that Steve Carell changes much from his initial numbness or faces his past in a new way.

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