When “The LEGO Movie” debuted in 2014, it took audiences and critics by surprise…and the box office by storm! While the sequel “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” lacks the freshness of the original, there’s still plenty of creativity and animated razzle dazzle on display. The LEGO universe has descended into dystopia and must contend with invaders from the cute but deadly DUPLO world. There’s plenty of broad humor for the kids and cheeky cultural references for adults, but the movie is almost undone by frenetic, breakneck editing. Still, “The LEGO Movie 2” delivers all the entertainment one could expect from a 90-minute toy commercial.

Each year, I get the same question. Why should I care about the Oscar-nominated shorts if I can’t see them? Well, you can. The latest compilation has arrived and it’s easy to see why these films have been so honored. There’s no question as to the artistry of these efforts, so film buffs will have plenty to discuss in their post screening coffee talks. One note of caution: Most of these films are very dark and depressing. The best of the animated lot is probably “Bao,” the Pixar film about a dumpling come to life. “Madre,” a harrowing Spanish live short, is a model of taut direction and camerawork. There are three separate showcases at the Tivoli, with the animated and short program opening this week and the documentary short program starting on Feb. 15th.

Also opening this week, “Cold Pursuit” is a revenge thriller starring Liam Neeson. “What Men Want” is a gender flip on the 2001 Mel Gibson comedy. Taraji P. Henson stars as a woman who becomes able to hear men’s thoughts. “The Man Who Killed Hitler and them Big Foot” is an adventure drama starring Sam Elliot. “Tragedy Girls” is a twist on the slasher genre.

ON Freeze Frame | February 8, 2019 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

Freeze Frame: “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” (PG), “Oscar Nominated Shorts” (Not rated)

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When “The LEGO Movie” debuted in 2014, it took audiences and critics by surprise…and the box office by storm! While the sequel “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” lacks the freshness of the original, there’s still plenty of creativity and animated razzle dazzle on display. The LEGO universe has descended into dystopia and must contend with invaders from the cute but deadly DUPLO world. There’s plenty of broad humor for the kids and cheeky cultural references for adults, but the movie is almost undone by frenetic, breakneck editing. Still, “The LEGO Movie 2” delivers all the entertainment one could expect from a 90-minute toy commercial.

Each year, I get the same question. Why should I care about the Oscar-nominated shorts if I can’t see them? Well, you can. The latest compilation has arrived and it’s easy to see why these films have been so honored. There’s no question as to the artistry of these efforts, so film buffs will have plenty to discuss in their post screening coffee talks. One note of caution: Most of these films are very dark and depressing. The best of the animated lot is probably “Bao,” the Pixar film about a dumpling come to life. “Madre,” a harrowing Spanish live short, is a model of taut direction and camerawork. There are three separate showcases at the Tivoli, with the animated and short program opening this week and the documentary short program starting on Feb. 15th.

Also opening this week, “Cold Pursuit” is a revenge thriller starring Liam Neeson. “What Men Want” is a gender flip on the 2001 Mel Gibson comedy. Taraji P. Henson stars as a woman who becomes able to hear men’s thoughts. “The Man Who Killed Hitler and them Big Foot” is an adventure drama starring Sam Elliot. “Tragedy Girls” is a twist on the slasher genre.

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