Sam Eifling



“The Raid 2″

“The Raid 2″

“The Raid 2,” a martial arts epic so ultraviolent and spectacular it arrives almost as a surprise in American theaters, will surprise no one who saw its predecessor, “The Raid: Redemption,” with its audacity and ferocity. However, if you missed out on everyone’s favorite Indonesian shoot-’em-up cop classic in 2011, then you might need a […]

“Muppets Most Wanted”

“Muppets Most Wanted”

“Muppets Most Wanted” begins with a song-and-dance number spoofing the fact the Muppets are making another sequel and hinting on the sly that “the sequel’s never quite as good.” Alas, despite several shameless laughs and a terrific villain Muppet (a sinister Kermit doppelganger named Constantine) it doesn’t quite have the heart of 2011′s “The Muppets,” […]

“Need for Speed”

“Need for Speed”

While “Need for Speed” carries a generic name apparently dreamt up by a 12-year-old, it turns out it was merely a title meant for 12-year-olds. “The Need for Speed” is a videogame first released in 1994 on PC and, nostalgia alert, the 3DO and Sega Saturn. The series has spawned 19 more iterations since, with […]

“300: Rise of an Empire”

“300: Rise of an Empire”

The phrase sword-and-sandal used to evoke vaguely homoerotic visions of old-timey masculinity, back when Spartacus roamed the screen. (“Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?” Capt. Oveur asked in “Airplane,” and a knowing nation chortled.) Whereas the high-aspiring (and eventual Best Picture winner) “Gladiator” didn’t leer at its players’ bodies to any gratuitous degree, its […]

“Non-Stop”

“Non-Stop”

It took a dozen years, but someone has finally made an honest run at a post-9/11 hijacking movie in the form of “Non-Stop,” Liam Neeson’s latest thriller in which he is both cat and mouse. An air marshal with a fear of flying, he finds himself at some personal low point, steeling himself with booze […]

“Pompeii”

“Pompeii”

Not since “Melancholia” obliterated the entire Earth in its opening stanza has a film been so upfront about its designs on extermination as “Pompeii.” Every schoolkid knows the Italian coastal berg that Vesuvius croaked under 20 feet of hot ash almost 2,000 years ago. It may be the most famous ghost town in the world, […]

“RoboCop”

“RoboCop”

The original “RoboCop” — and here we must underscore the word “original” — worked, as so many unlikely classics do, on a number of levels. Let’s reduce that number to two, for easy contrast with its flaccid offspring, also named “Robocop” but unworthy of the mantle. One: The 1987 “RoboCop” was a violent, vulgar, inventive, […]

“The Lego Movie”

“The Lego Movie”

“The Lego Movie” is one of the funniest, most madcap animated movies of recent memory, and perhaps ever. It’s like pouring Mentos and Diet Coke straight into your brainpan while doing backflips on a trampoline and staring through a kaleidoscope. It’s like being submerged in candy and tickled by seraphim. “The Lego Movie” is like […]

“That Awkward Moment”

“That Awkward Moment”

Early in “That Awkward Moment,” a new romantic comedy that is hard to completely hate, the three mid-20s male leads vow to remain single together, to play the field before settling down. Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) is a doctor whose soon-to-be ex-wife cuckolded him, and his best graphic-designer friends Daniel (Miles Teller) and Jason (Zac […]

“I, Frankenstein”

“I, Frankenstein”

Hollywood could use a primer in churning out proper schlock these days. By rights, a movie as shamelessly doofy as “I, Frankenstein” ought to generate a heap more fun. Here you have Aaron Eckhart, a semi-serious actor of such films as “Thank You for Smoking” and “The Dark Knight,” getting gussied in eyeblack and body-length […]