“Beatriz at Dinner,” starring Salma Hayek as a holistic healer riled up by a boor, comes to iTunes. And “Nocturnal Animals,” with Amy Adams as a gallery owner uncertain of where real life ends and art begins, arrives on HBO.
BEATRIZ AT DINNER (2017) on iTunes. Salma Hayek is the Beatriz in question, a Mexican-born masseuse and healer invited to dine at her rich client’s home after her car breaks down — and where the guest of honor is Doug Strutt (John Lithgow), a billionaire real estate developer with a passion for big-game hunting who cares not a whit about the environmental havoc he and his projects wreak. When Doug first meets Beatriz, he assumes she is part of the wait staff. But when he gloats about killing a rhinoceros, displaying the carcass on his phone, her placid demeanor cracks and a war of wits ensues with race, inequality and immigration at its core. Miguel Arteta, working from a screenplay by Mike White, “directs with a dry, Buñuelian touch, savoring small absurdities and letting the larger themes hover in the soft Orange County air,” A. O. Scott wrote in The New York Times. But, he added, “the seriousness of its themes in no way detracts from the delight in watching Ms. Hayek and Mr. Lithgow perform their eccentric, intricate dance.”
What’s on TV
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS (2016) 8 p.m. on HBO. Susan (Amy Adams), the owner of a Los Angeles art gallery, enters a hall of mirrors — one doomed to shatter — when her former husband sends her his latest novel, which he has seductively dedicated to her. It doesn’t help that her current spouse (Armie Hammer) is a philanderer headed toward financial ruin. Soon this second feature from the director and writer Tom Ford cuts to the story in the book, a violent one whose central character (Jake Gyllenhaal) resembles Susan’s ex — and whose wife and daughter remind her of herself and her child. “Joan Didion wrote that ‘we tell ourselves stories in order to live,’” Manohla Dargis wrote in The Times. “Sometimes, though, we tell stories to kill, to stick a stiletto in and watch the blood drain.”
HALT AND CATCH FIRE 9 p.m. on AMC. As this fourth and final season begins, the race is on to develop a new technology to search the World Wide Web. And Donna (Kerry Bishé) is at the forefront with a bold vision — and on a collision course with her ex-husband, Gordon (Scoot McNairy), and his longtime collaborator, Joe (Lee Pace). Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis), meanwhile, shamed by personal and professional failure, finds herself back in the lives of her former partners. For more of Ms. Davis, watch Sophia Takal’s “ALWAYS SHINE” (2016), on Sundance Now, in which she and Caitlin FitzGerald play a couple of eerily look-alike best friends taking a breather from the Los Angeles acting grind to hike the misty coastline of Big Sur. But where one woman ends and the other begins becomes blurry as envy drives some “Persona”-esque identity shifting.
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