Sam Eifling



“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 […]

“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”

“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”

The evening after I watched it, someone asked what my favorite part of “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” was. Upon reflection, I realized there’s no such thing. The latest espionage flick featuring America’s stodgy answer to James Bond, “Shadow Recruit” takes Jack Ryan out of the Tom Clancy canon (the late author receives only a “characters […]

“Lone Survivor”

“Lone Survivor”

“Lone Survivor” underscores the boldness of its title in the first scene, in which Mark Wahlberg, playing the real-life Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, appears bloody and mangled on an operating room table, flatlining. This, it turns out, is your lone survivor: The guy who’s borderline dead. One of the grittiest, most grueling war movies ever […]

“Inside Llewyn Davis”

“Inside Llewyn Davis”

“Inside Llewyn Davis” is the rare and peculiar musical film in which the lead character doesn’t much care for many of the songs in it, including those he helps perform. Llewyn (Oscar Isaac, in a star-making turn) begins and ends this curious, sweet movie with a few of his own works — a sight better […]

A Look Back at 2013

A Look Back at 2013

The year-end lists in movies and music are always great ways to glance back at works that might not have much of anything to do with one another but for their year of release. But they’re also a tacit look ahead to awards season — in our case, to the Oscars. I don’t claim to […]

“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”

“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”

Since graduating from “Saturday Night Live” 11 years ago, Will Ferrell has built the sort of ubiquity that few if any other former sketch comedians have achieved, and he’s done it by aiming at a low-to-middle brow audience that, unlike Adam Sandler’s, has at least learned how to breath through its nostrils. The sudden and […]