Capsule reviews for June 9

Beatriz at Dinner

A ferocious performance by Salma Hayek propels this modestly amusing yet mostly unsettling drama from director Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl). Hayek plays the title role, a massage therapist whose car breaks down after an appointment at the mansion of a client set to host an important business dinner. The homeowners reluctantly invite Beatriz to stay, not knowing that she would become awkwardly intrusive, and start an especially uncomfortable exchange with a billionaire developer (John Lithgow). The sharp screenplay maintains a frustrating ambiguity at times with regard to motives and backgrounds, but builds to a provocative examination of socioeconomic class, corporate greed and the immigrant experience. (Rated R, 83 minutes).

 

The Hero

Sam Elliott deserves a role like the lead in this sharply observed character study about aging and redemption. So it comes as no surprise that the veteran character actor is terrific in the title role, playing a washed-up actor struggling to find work who must make amends in his messy personal life after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. He reaches out to his estranged daughter (Krysten Ritter) to mend a longstanding rift, and finds companionship with a younger comedian (Laura Prepon) with issues of her own. The deliberately paced film treads familiar territory yet achieves a modest emotional resonance without settling for cheap sentimentality. (Rated R, 93 minutes).

 

The Hunter’s Prayer

The transparent goal of this frenetic cat-and-mouse thriller from director Jonathan Mostow (Breakdown) is to keep the action moving so viewers don’t pause to contemplate the narrative incoherence behind it. Lucas (Sam Worthington) is an assassin hired to kill the teenage daughter (Odeya Rush) of a corrupt American executive, who’s also a target. But after tracking the girl to a posh European boarding school, circumstances prompt a change of heart. The film is technically proficient and features a handful of taut chase sequences, although the formulaic script offers little suspense or surprise, and as a result, moviegoers are unlikely to invest much emotion in the outcome. (Rated R, 91 minutes)

 

I Love You Both

Once you get past the contrived concept, this low-budget romantic comedy offers a fresh take on contemporary relationships that’s both amusing and heartfelt. It follows fraternal twins Donny and Krystal (played by real-life siblings Doug and Kristin Archibald) — he’s gay, she’s straight — whose codependency is tested through a friendship with a bisexual artist (Lucas Neff) that turns into mutual attraction. The result is better than it sounds, with quirks limited to moderate doses and unpredictable character-driven twists that resonate with authenticity. Perhaps that’s because the Archibalds, who also collaborated on the semiautobiographical script, know their material. Or because they just have a solid sense of humor. (Not rated, 87 minutes).