The masterly cinematographer Caleb Deschanel gives “Jack Reacher” something of a grainy look, which is just right. Expensive production values weren’t a hallmark of the 1940s noir this thriller efficiently emulates.
In 1975, David Mamet’s play “American Buffalo” used three foul-mouthed lowlifes planning a petty theft to portray the sordid state of the American soul. It had a huge influence on the vernacular of theater and film in the decades following.
Julia Roberts slurps spaghetti in Rome, pets a rogue elephant in India and rides a bicycle through a tropical forest in Bali in “ Eat Pray Love ,” the turgid film adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir about a divorcee’s global journey of self-discovery.
When we first see Johnny Depp in “The Rum Diary,” he’s hung over, bloodshot and clad only in boxer shorts hiked unfashionably high over his midsection. He’s stumbling around a motel room that looks like it’s been hit by a hurricane.
In “Captain America: The First Avenger,” the superhero combats high-tech weapons with a relatively low-tech device -- an impenetrable red, white and blue circular shield that repels bullets and zaps foes when used as a high-speed discus.