Sam Eifling



“Hercules”

“Hercules”

The myth of Hercules is one of those fantastic jellybeans of world literature, a nasty, brutish, savage story full of monsters and gods and heroes, a rival to any of the cracking yarns from the Bible but without any hint of moral nourishment to weigh it down. In Greek tradition, the king of the gods, […]

“The Purge 2: Anarchy”

“The Purge 2: Anarchy”

The surprise 20-to-1 earnings-to-budget ratio of a little dystopian murderfest called “The Purge” last year made its spawn, “The Purge 2: Anarchy,” a foregone conclusion. What wasn’t inevitable was that the sequel would be a stronger movie than the original. Rather than pinning us inside a single McMansion during America’s newest/worst holiday, the annual 12 […]

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

The reaction in the past week to “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” has been equal parts encouraging and depressing. Happily, the movie’s actually pretty good, and audiences, apparently starved for anything that doesn’t salute their intelligence with both middle fingers, turned out in droves. The damn dirty apes blew it up at the […]

“Tammy”

“Tammy”

Rarely do we get the chance in mainstream multiplex fare to ask the question, so let’s do so here. What name would we give an inverted inverts Bechdel Test? That shorthand for the pervasive masculine default in most movies looks for three criteria. First, a movie must have at least two female characters. Second, they […]

“Transformers: Age of Extinction”

“Transformers: Age of Extinction”

“Transformers: Age of Extinction” is not the title of a movie so much as the tag of a natural disaster we knew was coming, sort of like the schedule of names (Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, etc., in 2014) we prepare for hurricane season. The next cacophonous, disorienting, exhausting installment in this series will be the […]

“22 Jump Street”

“22 Jump Street”

It’s probably impossible for an English speaker between the ages of 4 and 87 to watch “22 Jump Street” without laughing at some damn thing or other. The sequel to the 2012 quasi-adaptation of late-’80s cop drama “21 Jump Street” sprays jokes across a wider range of tastes than maybe any comedy you’ve seen. For […]

“Edge of Tomorrow”

“Edge of Tomorrow”

The life of a soldier named Cage in “Edge of Tomorrow” plays like a smudged CD, blatting the same note on repeat ad infinitum. An ad guy turned media spinmeister after an overwhelming alien invasion, the officer finds himself labeled a deserter and thrown into the infantry of a futuristic D-Day, clad in a tanklike […]

“A Million Ways to Die in the West”

“A Million Ways to Die in the West”

When Seth MacFarlane decided to mash up a spaghetti western with an off-color comedy, he must’ve known the comparisons to “Blazing Saddles” would follow, as surely as his runaway animated smash “Family Guy” will forever be held up against “The Simpsons.” MacFarlane, like Mel Brooks, takes a strong hand in his movies — in “A […]

“X-Men: Days of Future Past”

“X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Alone among the major comic book film franchises, the X-Men flicks have been able to navigate seven films now without pressing the “reboot” button on any of its major characters. Think of the redundancy of the new Spider-Man films, the cringeworthy Bana-to-Norton-to-Ruffalo saga of the Hulk. Meanwhile, you still have Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier, […]

“Godzilla”

“Godzilla”

The last time we saw Godzilla, 16 years ago, he was a fleet, raptoresque creature arriving in New York for no real reason other than to re-enact “Jurassic Park” in Madison Square Garden. The movie was, in a word, gawdawful, a paint-by-numbers hack job that, if you get high enough on a rainy Sunday to […]