Streaming Wars: Michael Sheen Makes Football Movie Magic in “The Damned United”

Your weekly film queue.


Doubtless you’ve seen Michael Sheen’s bellowing tribute to the Wales football team (“a red storm is coming to the gates of Qatar!”). What you probably haven’t seen is his magnificently manic star turn in Tom Hooper’s uproarious and underappreciated The Damned United (2009), a fictionalized chronicle of Brian Clough’s doomed reign as the manager of Leeds United in 1974. Free on Crackle, Roku, Tubi.


Bumper in Berlin, really? Just say no to nonsensical franchise extensions and rewatch Jason Moore’s original Pitch Perfect (2012). Get ready to rock out to the a capella version of Ace of Base’s “The Sign” (which Anna Kendrick and company sing with geeky-cool bravado) and cheer for the Barden Bellas as they vanquish their elitist and misogynistic rivals in the gladiatorial arena of collegiate choral competitions. Peacock.


If you dug the gloriously clever and colorful trailer for director Peter Sohn’s upcoming Pixar film Elemental, check out his feature debut, The Good Dinosaur (2015). Set in an alternate reality where the meteor missed Earth, the film is a big-hearted bromance about a talking dinosaur and a cave boy adrift in the prehistoric wilderness. Disney+.


Hayao Miyazaki isn’t Studio Ghibli’s only environmentalist visionary. Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies) directed the buoyant and poignant Pom Poko (1994), about a group of rambunctious tanuki (Japanese raccoon dogs) waging war against suburban sprawl. The shapeshifting shenanigans of the magical tanuki are a delight, but their battle against human hubris is at once comic and tragic. HBO Max.