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★★ ½ The Big Short — I’m con­flicted be­yond the usual def­i­ni­tions of “con­flicted” re­gard­ing di­rec­tor and co-writer Adam McKay’s “The Big Short,” a valiant, zestily acted adap­ta­tion of the Michael Lewis non­fic­tion best-seller about the fi­nan­cial melt­down of 2008. The na­tional and world economies are still mired in the melted cheese of that cri­sis, a slice of re­cent his­tory that seems very far away and de­press­ingly present. To tell this story, McKay and co-writer Charles Ran­dolph cope with an un­godly mass of di­a­logue con­cern­ing the risks in­volved with col­lat­er­al­ized debt obli­ga­tions and mort­gage-backed se­cu­ri­ties. I’m an id­iot when it comes to fi­nances, both my own and the coun­try’s. To an id­iot like me, “The Big Short” comes off as an ex­as­per­ated blur of a movie, packed with in­for­ma­tion and loaded with en­ter­tain­ing ac­tors work­ing hard to dra­ma­tize and en­er­gize. 130 min. (R) for per­va­sive lan­guage and some sex­u­al­ity/nu­dity. — Michael Phillips, Tribune News­pa­pers The Boy — In an English vil­lage, a young Amer­i­can woman is hired to care for an 8-year-old, who ap­pears to be a life-size doll. With Lau­ren Co­han, Rupert Evans and Jim Nor­ton. Writ­ten by Stacey Me­n­ear. Di­rected by Wil­liam Brent Bell. 98 min. (PG-13) for vi­o­lence and ter­ror, and some the­matic ma­te­rial. ★★★ ½ Brook­lyn — The Amer­i­can im­mi­grant story comes to life in the lush and lovely “Brook­lyn,” di­rected by John Crowley, with a screen­play adapted by Nick Hornby from Colm Toibin’s 2009 novel. In 1950s En­nis­cor­thy, Ire­land, young Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ro­nan) strives for more than what her small town can of­fer. With­out job or mar­riage prospects at home, she takes the leap across the At­lantic to seek her for­tune in New York City. Eilis is des­per­ately home­sick un­til she starts tak­ing ac­count­ing classes and meets a charm­ing Ital­ian guy. All too soon, a fam­ily death calls her back to the moth-

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