New to stream or buy on DVD/Blu-ray: Maya The Bee, Every Breath You Take, Ted Lasso season two and more...
MAYA THE BEE: THE GOLDEN ORB (Cert U, 84 mins, Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, Animation/Adventure/Comedy, available from July 26 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, also available from July 26 on DVD £10.99)
Featuring the voices of: Coco Jack Gillies, Benson Jack Anthony, Justine Clarke, Tom Cossetini, Frances Berry, Callan Colley, Noel Cleary.
INTREPID bee Maya (voiced by Coco Jack Gillies) and best friend Willi (Benson Jack Anthony) cause a commotion by accidentally unleashing a slithering stampede of glow worms during preparations for the Spring Festival.
"No more of your adventures!" despairs the Queen (Justine Clarke), who orders Maya and Willi to collect buttercup sap to repair damage to the hive.
During the sap-gathering sortie, Maya and Willi encounter a green ant named Chomp (Tom Cossetini), who is being chased by beetles Rumba (Frances Berry), Boof (Callan Colley) and Henchie (Noel Cleary).
The bees take possession of the Regal Orb of Greenleaf from Chomp and pledge to carry the glittering trinket to the ant colony on Bonsai Peak.
Based on buzzy characters from the German children's book by Waldemar Bonsels, Maya The Bee: The Golden Orb is the third computer-animated adventure in the series aimed squarely at young viewers.
Director Noel Cleary's wholesome picture is pollinated by sweet vocal performances and heartfelt storytelling. Screenwriter Fin Edquist harvests sticky sentimentality when the going gets tough but lashings of emotional syrup don't prevent the solid action sequences from taking flight, including a frantic chase on a fallen leaf down eddying water.
The quality of the animation has improved since the first film but water effects aren't convincing during the river sequence and feathery plumage of a flock of hungry birds noticeably lacks realistic movement in the air.
Jack Gillies continues to radiate sweetness as the voice of the humming heroine, who never thinks twice about flapping her wings to do the right thing.
EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE (Cert 15, 101 mins, Sky Cinema, Thriller/Romance, streaming from July 23 exclusively on NOW TV)
Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Sam Claflin, India Eisley, Emily Alyn Lind.
PSYCHIATRIST Philip (Casey Affleck) hasn't processed the death of his young son in a car accident with his wife Grace (Michelle Monaghan) behind the wheel. Instead, he has thrown himself into his work, compromising ethical boundaries with one patient, Daphne (Emily Alyn Lind), to earn her fragile trust.
When Daphne commits suicide, her grief-stricken brother James (Sam Claflin) becomes attached to Philip as one of the last people his sister called before she took her life. James's unsettling presence deepens the marital rift between Philip and Grace and stirs up burgeoning desires in the couple's troubled daughter, Lucy (India Eisley).
Predicated on a depressingly obvious twist that calls into question the competency of Affleck's shrink, Every Breath You Take wheezes and puffs through a linear plot that harks back to hoary thrillers from the 1990s when characters with an English accent were universally recognised shorthand for villainy and psychosis.
David Murray's script isn't sexy enough to be alluring, smart enough to be enthralling or sadistic enough to be unsettling, politely choosing a bland middle ground that won't thrill anyone.
Affleck overloads his character with grief until he can barely articulate lines of dialogue, creating a convenient vacuum for Claflin to wreak havoc on a predictably grand scale.
Monaghan's neglected spouse is underwritten and remains little more than a plot device until the end credits roll.
Director Vaughn Stein shifts into second gear with a perfunctory car chase but the histrionics of the denouement are too contrived and overwrought to land a knockout blow.
TED LASSO – SEASON 2 (12 episodes, starts streaming from July 23 exclusively on Apple TV+, Comedy/Drama/Romance)
RELEASED in August last year, Ted Lasso remains one of the jewels in the crown of the Apple TV+ streaming service.
The relentlessly upbeat underdog comedy follows a second division American football coach from Kansas as he crosses the Atlantic to manage a mid-table Premier League club without any knowledge of the beautiful game.
The show recently made history with 20 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, the most nods for any comedy in its inaugural outing.
In the eagerly anticipated second series, Ted Lasso (Jason Sudeikis), deadpan Coach Beard (Brendan Hunt) and assistant coach Nathan (Nick Mohammed) honour their pledge to return AFC Richmond to the Premier League following relegation last season.
Young Mexican player Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernandez) will be key to the fortunes of a tightly knit team owned by Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham).
The first two episodes kick off this week, followed by one instalment every Friday.
TRANSFORMERS: WAR FOR CYBERTRON TRILOGY: KINGDOM (6 episodes, streaming from July 23 exclusively on Netflix, Animation/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Adventure)
THE robots in disguise are locked in battle with dastardly foes in six action-packed episodes, which conclude an animated trilogy that began with Siege and Earthrise in July and December 2020 respectively.
Characters from the Beast Wars: Transformers series make their debut, adding firepower to the conflict on Earth between the Autobots and Decepticons.
Optimus Prime (voiced by Jake Foushee) and his valiant troops forge an alliance with the Maximals in the race to locate the missing AllSpark.
Unfortunately, the Decepticons align themselves with the diabolical Predacons, who possess a mysterious Golden Disk that can boost the power of Megatron (Jason Marnocha) and bless him with an unfair advantage over humanity's mechanised protectors.
PLAYING WITH SHARKS (Cert PG, 90 mins, streaming from July 23 exclusively on Disney+, Documentary)
IN 1975, director Steven Spielberg demonised the great white shark in his blockbuster Jaws.
These majestic predators have been repeatedly maligned and misunderstood in the intervening years.
Champion spearfisher turned ocean explorer Valerie Taylor has been at the forefront of changing perceptions about the fish with her pioneering underwater film-making and shark research.
In this feature-length documentary directed by two-time Emmy nominee Sally Aitken, Taylor looks back over her career and waxes lyrical about her close relationship with sharks, enriched with underwater archival footage.
She talks about protecting the creatures and the birth of cageless shark diving, which allowed her to get closer to the creatures.
STUNTMAN (Cert PG, 95 mins, streaming from July 23 exclusively on Disney+, Documentary/Action)
DON'T try this at home. For more than 30 years, Hollywood stuntman Eddie Braun has put his body on the line to perform death-defying acrobatics in TV shows and films in place of A-list stars.
He was inspired to take up his craft by Evel Knievel, whose most famous failure was the televised Snake River Canyon rocket jump.
Documentary film-maker Kurt Mattila meet Braun as he contemplates retirement by attempting the same rocket jump that almost killed his idol.
Working closely with Scott Truax, whose Nasa scientist father built Evel's original doomed rocket, Braun prepares to soar 3,000 feet into the air at about 450 miles per hour as a thrilling swansong.