NOTHING beats sitting down to watch a good movie or box set and there are plenty of great new releases on offer for people to enjoy at home.

Thanks to digital technology it’s also possible to catch up with a great film on the go with a download to watch on a laptop or tablet computer or on a mobile phone.

Damon Smith reviews some of the latest releases.


A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (Cert U, 86 mins, StudioCanal, Animation/Comedy/Sci-Fi/Adventure, available from February 10 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from February 24 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray £29.99)

Featuring the voices of: Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Chris Morrell, Amalia Vitale, Kate Harbour.

Shaun (voiced by Justin Fletcher) and his farmyard buddies clash with Bitzer the sheepdog (John Sparkes), who wants to restrict fun in the absence of Farmer John (Chris Morrell).

While the master is lost in fanciful daydreams of purchasing a new combine harvester, Shaun and the flock drive Bitzer to the brink of barking madness.

Late one night, an alien spaceship descends on Mossingham and a cute creature called Lu-La (Amalia Vitale) finds its way - via a pizza delivery cyclist - to the farm.

Shaun stumbles upon Lu-La in a barn and befriends the extra-terrestrial with slices of leftover pizza.

The plucky sheep vows to help the stricken alien return to her hidden spaceship.

Unfortunately, Agent Red (Kate Harbour) and her team of operatives in bright yellow hazmat suits are on Lu-La's trail.

A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon is a breathlessly paced stop-motion adventure, which replicates the emotional heartbeats of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, underscored with earthy humour and lively musical interludes.

Agent Red is a non-descript antagonist, devoid of personality or a back story, and there's never a moment in the film when Shaun, Lu-La and the gang find themselves in nail- or hoof-biting peril.

The 87-minute running time won't test the attention spans of younger viewers.

Will Becher and Richard Phelan's sequel is lighter on visual gags - a local supermarket stocks jars of Roswell's jam and signage for HG Wheels Autos is a cute nod to The War Of The Worlds - but action set pieces are orchestrated with brio.

Rating: ***


Zombieland: Double Tap (Cert 15, 99 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Action/Comedy/Horror/|Romance, available from February 10 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from February 24 on DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray £36.99)

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Bill Murray.

Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone) and spunky younger sister Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) are living as a dysfunctional family in the White House.

Columbus proposes to Wichita but she is reluctant to accept in case they become another divorce statistic.

"I don't see us going that route," he quips. "Where would we find the lawyers?"

The following day, Wichita and Little Rock leave the safety of the group to become mistresses of their destinies.

On the road, they pick up a guitar-strumming pacifist called Berkeley (Avan Jogia), who is searching for the fabled sanctuary of Babylon.

"It's named for that David Gray song," he coos.

Meanwhile, Columbus soothes his heartbreak in the company of survivor Madison (Zoey Deutch).

Zombieland: Double Tap is a ramshackle road-trip, which strikes the same irreverent tone as its gore-laden predecessor, including a delirious flashback during the end credits of a viral outbreak rudely interrupting Bill Murray (playing himself) as he promotes Garfield 3: Flabby Tabby.

The film's centrepiece action sequence, seemingly shot in a single take on a handheld camera, momentarily quickens the pulse.

However, it's hard to creatively justify the sequel when character development is minimal, plotting is flimsy and some of the biggest laughs are mined from the first film.

New additions to the cast are largely forgettable except for Deutch as a ditzy, hair-twiddling blonde, who has been hiding in a giant ice cream freezer for the past decade.

"You know why she survived?" explains Harrelson's father figure. "Because zombies eat brains and she's got none."

Rating: ***

Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil (Cert PG, 118 mins, Disney DVD, Fantasy/Action/Adventure/Romance, available from February 10 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from February 17 on DVD £17.99/Blu-ray £21.99/3D Blu-ray £25.99/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray £36.99)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sam Riley, Harris Dickinson, Robert Lindsay.

Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) blossoms in her role as queen of the Moors with guidance from adopted mother Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) and shape-shifting henchman Diaval (Sam Riley).

Aurora's sweetheart Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson) goes down on bended knee and the princess accepts his proposal.

Their union promises to bridge the divide between the enchanted realm and humankind.

Philip's parents, King John (Robert Lindsay) and Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer), invite Aurora, Maleficent and Diaval to their castle to celebrate the engagement.

The two tribes declare an uneasy truce over the dinner table until a member of the royal household falls victim to Maleficent's sleeping curse.

Aurora's allegiances are tested as Queen Ingrith declares war on the fairy folk and raises an army.

Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil is an impressively staged but emotionally lightweight sequel based on characters from Disney's 1959 animation Sleeping Beauty and Charles Perrault's fairytale La Belle Au Bois Dormant.

Stuffed to the seams with digitally rendered creatures, director Joachim Ronning's romp is slow-cooked to the same family-friendly recipe as the first film and underscores the empowerment of female characters in rollicking action sequences.

Women resolutely hold sway in a script co-written by Linda Woolverton, Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue, which spares no expense with lavish spectacle but is thrifty with character development and plot twists.

Jolie is more reactive and less imposing in this second escapade but snags a few deliciously droll one-liners.

Fanning radiates sweetness and Pfeiffer looks lustrous as she slinks through a narrative laden with predictable betrayals and hard-fought absolution.

Love conquers fear and intolerance twice upon a time.

Rating: ***

Official Secrets (Cert 15, 111 mins, Entertainment One, Thriller/Romance, available from February 10 on Amazon Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services, available from February 24 on DVD £19.99)

Starring: Keira Knightley, Matt Smith, Matthew Goode, Adam Bakri, Ralph Fiennes, Monica Dolan.

In 2003, Katharine Gun (Keira Knightley) works as a translator at Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, which gathers intelligence to protect the United Kingdom.

Ahead of a pivotal UN Security Council meeting, Gun and colleagues receive an email from American counterparts at the National Security Agency (NSA) asking for information on member nations including Angola, Cameroon and Pakistan, "who could swing the vote in favour of war".

Gun is deeply troubled and she secretly prints out a copy of the email and leaks the contents, via a contact, to Martin Bright (Matt Smith) at the Observer.

When the story eventually makes the front page, Gun is charged with a breach of the Official Secrets Act and her Kurdish husband, Yasar (Adam Bakri), faces deportation.

The media swarms and human rights barrister Ben Emmerson (Ralph Fiennes) agrees to represent Katharine at the Old Bailey.

Official Secrets is a well-crafted but pedestrian distillation of events behind closed doors, which reminds us that in times of conflict, the cold, unvarnished and uncomfortable truth is sometimes among the casualties.

Knightley brings steely determination, fragility and naivete to her role, portraying her mild-mannered informant as a reluctant heroine, who risks being crushed in the gear wheels of a well-oiled government machine.

Disappointingly, the fire in Gun's belly fails to fully ignite Hood's conventional dramatisation.

The script is disappointingly light on tension even when Gun suspects that she is under surveillance and notices men staring at her intently on public transport.

Rating: ***