Movie Review

Veteran movie reviewer Jim Erickson shares his no-holds-barred opinions on Hollywood's best efforts. Tune in every Thursday for the latest review.

A Million Ways To Die In The West is said to be both hilariously funny and in horrible taste and it is both.

What is most surprising is that it is also, and I hate this word but it’s the only one that fits, sweet.

The relationship between Seth MacFarlane and Charlize Theron is so restrained and gentle, and the Theron character is so impossibly likable and kind, despite her backstory, that she is psychologically impossible, and the return to raunchiness when they are off-screen was really unwelcome, to me, even when it was very funny.

The Immigrant is a consistently interesting, but rather forlorn movie about Marion Cotillard’s troubles getting her tubercular sister past Ellis Island and into the United States, with the rather questionable help of Joaquin Phoenix, back in 1921.

It’s notable for its extremely persuasive, I am willing to assume authentic, production values and a fascinating performance by Phoenix, bit it’s not exactly the cheeriest movie in town.

Million Dollar Arm is an entertaining trifle full of material that should have added up to a lot more.

John Hamm goes to India to find recruits for his failing baseball business, and recruits a cricket player and a javelin thrower on the assumption that all a baseball player needs is the ability to throw a ball with quicksilver speed and missile accuracy.

At least, that’s all the boys work at, and nobody assumes they should do more, including Alan Arkin, the chief comedy character, a baseball scout who can judge a pitch by the sound of the ball passing.

Fading Gigolo is a four-star movie, or almost, and a good deal different from what you might expect.

For one thing, Fading Gigolo is written and directed by John Turturro-- Woody Allen co-stars with Turturro , but neither writes nor directs. And while the premise is Allen promoting and managing Turturro's career a companion with privileges for lonely women, it is not particularly sexy.

There would seem to be some disagreement about the new horror movie Oculus. I would give it a top four stars, the Wichita Eagle gave it three, and the three ladies I talked to after the show varied from one who gave it four out of a possible five, and the other two who gave it between two and three.

The Other Woman is a revenge comedy for women, who will probably enjoy it a good deal more than men-- for one thing, because they will probably see Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as more of a villain than men will and more deserving of what happens at the end, which is a little out of tone with most of what has gone before and descends into terrible taste, though the audience kept laughing. And The Other Woman is mostly about sex, but the ending is mostly about money.

Bears is a much more straightforward nature movie than you might expect. The story of a pair of brown bear cubs and their mother through their first year together, it doesn't try to escape the inevitable cuteness of bear cubs, but except for that, it does not present the life in nature as being cute at all.

Draft Day is made for people who know about the National Football League's draft system and care who gets to play for the Cleveland Browns. People like me, who can't even follow the scene in which Kevin Costner and Denis Leary and a lot of others look at clips of Chadwick Boseman and Josh Pence at play at then analyze what they do, were far from the concerns of director Ivan Reitman or anybody else, and should perhaps just let other people do the reviews.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is the first movie I've called a masterpiece while admitting I didn't even keep track of whether the story made sense.

The reason is that I was fascinated by the visual motif that contributed so much to the storybook effect that it shared with writer-director Wes Anderson's previous Moonrise Kingdom, which used the same technique to a lesser degree, but to much the same effect.

Since the irreverent treatment of Noah has been a tradition in theater since the medieval mystery plays, there is nothing particularly new about the free adaptation of Noah's story in the new movie, Noah.

What is new, and the best thing in the movie, is Industrial Light and Magic's presentation of what I call the "Rock People," gigantic monsters apparently made of volcanic rock with fire glowing inside. They are surprisingly sympathetic, to the point that I wondered why they weren't granted room in the ark.