OPEN­INGS

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Carol — By now, the crit­i­cal re­cep­tion for di­rec­tor Todd Haynes’ “Carol” has built a fortress of pres­tige around the film it­self, much as the ti­tle char­ac­ter played by Cate Blanchett goes through her life pro­tected by just the right clothes and makeup. On the fortress wall there are signs declar­ing this adap­ta­tion of the Pa­tri­cia High­smith novel “The Price of Salt” an im­por­tant love story, a shat­ter­ing and beau­ti­ful ex­pe­ri­ence, fea­tur­ing Os­car-wor­thy per­for­mances from Blanchett and Rooney Mara, etc. With a few mi­nor ex­cep­tions, prac­ti­cally ev­ery de­ci­sion in the writ­ing, cast­ing, di­rec­tion and edit­ing of “Carol” was the right one. Like High­smith’s re­mark­able novel (the rare les­bian love story of its time with an op­ti­mistic coda), it nei­ther un­duly en­no­bles its key char­ac­ters nor con­fines them to butch/femme sex­ual archetypes. It’s about two peo­ple in a highly fraught, highly charged sit­u­a­tion. 118 min. (R) for a scene of sex­u­al­ity/nu­dity and brief lan­guage. Cine­mark Palace 20, Boca Ra­ton; Carmike Parisian 20, West Palm Beach. — Michael Phillips, Tri­bune News­pa­pers

Con­cus­sion —“Con­cus­sion,” writ­ten and di­rected by Peter Lan­des­man, es­tab­lishes two things right away — the ex­treme rev­er­ence that peo­ple have for foot­ball, through a Hall of Fame ac­cep­tance speech by Pitts­burgh Steeler “Iron Mike” Web­ster (David Morse), and the bona fides of Dr. Ben­net Omalu (Will Smith), an ex­tremely well-ed­u­cated Nige­rian im­mi­grant and foren­sic neu­ropathol­o­gist in the Pitts­burgh coroner’s of­fice. Th­ese are the two con­flict­ing forces through­out the film: the love of the game and the un­de­ni­a­bil­ity of science. The ba­sis for the film, the 2009 GQ ar­ti­cle “Game Brain” by Jeanne Marie Laskas (she also wrote the sub­se­quent book “Con­cus­sion”), re­lies more heav­ily on the lat­ter. 123 min. (PG-13) for the­matic ma­te­rial in­clud­ing some dis­turb­ing im­ages, and lan­guage. — Katie Walsh, Tri­bune News Ser­vice

Daddy’s Home— It’s OK if you’re skep­ti­cal about this Will Fer­rell vs. Mark Wahlberg ve­hi­cle. The trail­ers have show­cased ob­vi­ous, low­est com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor hu­mor that doesn’t look too promis­ing. But the re­al­ity is that the film, di­rected by com­edy vet Sean An­ders, is much fun­nier than it ap­pears. Fer­rell is at his best when he’s play­ing a buf­foon­ish naif. That’s ex­actly what “Daddy’s Home” de­liv­ers. The story is es­sen­tially a mas­culin­ity face-off be­tween step­dad Brad

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