It’s sequel mania at theaters this week, and at least two of them live up to the originals.

 

Who would have thought that an animated movie about toy building blocks would have been a hit, let alone a brash, cheeky and fast moving…wait for it…blockbuster? But 2014’s “The Lego Movie” was just that.

 

In the sequel, “The Lego Batman Movie,” Will Arnett reprises his role as a narcissistic and self-centered caped crusader whose lonely life of crime fighting is upended when Robin and Batgirl help him face his greatest challenge from The Joker and a wide assortment of other bad guys. This goofy and colorful romp is sure a lot more fun than Ben Affleck’s version.

 

Keanu Reeves is back for more R-rated bloody mayhem in “John Wick: Chapter 2,” about a super assassin reluctantly drawn back into the business. The ultra violent action thriller exists for one reason, and that’s to allow some of the best stunt people in the world to expertly ply their trade. Inspired by Hong Kong action cinema, this zippy flick has it all, including car chases, hand-to-hand combat, gunplay and a slew of bad guys being dispatched by all manner of weapons, including pencils. Yes, pencils. It’s a decadent guilty pleasure.

 

“Fifty Shades Darker” is the second title in the erotic romantic drama series based upon the bestsellers by E. L. James. The story of a kinky S&M relationship isn’t bad enough to be campy fun and is about as erotic as a cold shower. Dakota Johnson’s beguiling performance as the naive Anastasia Steele is the only thing this movie has going for it. Jamie Dornan as the handsome but twisted billionaire, however, is as drab as his name, Christian Grey. “Fifty Shades Darker” could have been called “Fifty Shades Duller.”

 

Also opening this week, “Don’t Knock Twice” is yet another low-budget horror entry about a wicked witch

ON Freeze Frame | February 10, 2017 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

FREEZE FRAME: “The Lego Batman Movie,”John Wick: Chapter 2,” “Fifty Shades Darker”

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It’s sequel mania at theaters this week, and at least two of them live up to the originals.

 

Who would have thought that an animated movie about toy building blocks would have been a hit, let alone a brash, cheeky and fast moving…wait for it…blockbuster? But 2014’s “The Lego Movie” was just that.

 

In the sequel, “The Lego Batman Movie,” Will Arnett reprises his role as a narcissistic and self-centered caped crusader whose lonely life of crime fighting is upended when Robin and Batgirl help him face his greatest challenge from The Joker and a wide assortment of other bad guys. This goofy and colorful romp is sure a lot more fun than Ben Affleck’s version.

 

Keanu Reeves is back for more R-rated bloody mayhem in “John Wick: Chapter 2,” about a super assassin reluctantly drawn back into the business. The ultra violent action thriller exists for one reason, and that’s to allow some of the best stunt people in the world to expertly ply their trade. Inspired by Hong Kong action cinema, this zippy flick has it all, including car chases, hand-to-hand combat, gunplay and a slew of bad guys being dispatched by all manner of weapons, including pencils. Yes, pencils. It’s a decadent guilty pleasure.

 

“Fifty Shades Darker” is the second title in the erotic romantic drama series based upon the bestsellers by E. L. James. The story of a kinky S&M relationship isn’t bad enough to be campy fun and is about as erotic as a cold shower. Dakota Johnson’s beguiling performance as the naive Anastasia Steele is the only thing this movie has going for it. Jamie Dornan as the handsome but twisted billionaire, however, is as drab as his name, Christian Grey. “Fifty Shades Darker” could have been called “Fifty Shades Duller.”

 

Also opening this week, “Don’t Knock Twice” is yet another low-budget horror entry about a wicked witch

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