DVDs/Downloads: The Florida Project, Paddington 2 and B: The Beginning

New to stream, rent on-demand or buy on dvd/blu-ray

Willem Dafoe and Brooklynn Prince in The Florida Project
Damon Smith

PADDINGTON 2 (Cert PG, 101 mins, StudioCanal, Family/Comedy/Drama/Action, available from March 5 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from March 12 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray £29.99)

Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) is happily installed in the attic of 32 Windsor Gardens, family home of fuddy-duddy insurance assessor Henry Brown (Hugh Bonneville), his wife (Sally Hawkins) and their children (Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin).

During a visit to antiques dealer Mr Gruber (Jim Broadbent), Paddington unearths a pop-up book of London, which would make the perfect gift for Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton).

Hilariously vain, fading actor Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant) steals the rare edition and Paddington is unfairly sentenced to 10 years for the crime.

Behind bars, Paddington meets jailbird brute Knuckles McGinty (Brendan Gleeson), who "don't do nothing for no-one for nothing". The bear's innate goodness weakens Knuckles' resolve and they collaborate on a daring prison break.

Paddington 2 is an unabashedly sweet, wholesome and crowd-pleasing sequel that promotes compassion and understanding. It's a resolutely old-fashioned message of hope and community spirit, with a marmalade-smeared flourish.

THE FLORIDA PROJECT (Cert 15, 111 mins, Altitude Releasing, Drama/Romance, available from March 5 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from March 12 on DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £17.99)

Single mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) sells designer fragrances to wealthy theme park visitors, aided by her precocious six-year-old daughter Moonee (Brooklynn Prince).

It's a struggle to raise the rent for a single room at the Magic Castle Motel and placate long-suffering manager Bobby (Willem Dafoe) so Halley relies on the kindness of friends and strangers including upstairs neighbour Ashley (Mela Murder).

During the day, little Moonee goes on adventures with other children including Scooty (Christopher Rivera), Dicky (Aiden Malik) and new girl Jancey (Valeria Cotto), who lives with her grandmother in nearby Futureland Inn. Their escapades drive Bobby to distraction, and an increasingly volatile Halley resorts to desperate measures to evade social services.

The Florida Project is an exuberant portrait of families living hand-to-mouth in the shadow of the fairytale sparkle of Walt Disney World. Seven-year-old Prince is a natural in front of the camera. Conversations between the children feel spontaneous and on-screen chemistry between Prince and Vinaite is utterly believable.

B: THE BEGINNING (12 episodes, streaming from March 2 exclusively on Netflix, Animation/Thriller/Drama)

The dark days when Japanese anime was dismissed as niche entertainment for western audiences are long gone. Thanks to English language dubbing and streaming services, the Pokemon and Dragonball Z franchises thrive in international markets alongside the films of Studio Ghibli, and cosplay is an essential component of fan conventions.

East meets west with impeccable style in B: The Beginning, a taut 12-part series directed by Kazuto Nakazawa, who produced the hyperviolent animated sequences in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill.

There is blood aplenty here too, spilt by diabolical serial killer B, who runs amok in the fortified metropolis of Cremona. Brilliant investigator Keith Flick (voiced by Ray Chase) is ushered into the police fold to unmask the perpetrator before he strikes again.

A mysterious youth called Koku (Kyle McCarley) might be the killer's next victim but Flick must untangle truth from supposition to solve an ingenious riddle that will curtail B's reign of terror.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 to get full access