Here’s a look at some interesting new releases available to rent from cable and digital providers and a title that has recently become available to stream.
Video on Demand
“Patti Cake$”: In this Sundance hit that also screened at South by Southwest, 23-year-old Patricia (newcomer Danielle Macdonald) lives in New Jersey with her mother, Barb (Bridget Everett), and ailing grandmother (Cathy Moriarty). Her friends call her Patti. She calls herself Killa P. Local hoodlums cruelly call her Dumbo. Rap music is always flowing through her headphones and car speakers, and her bedroom floor is covered in notebooks where she’s logged countless rhymes, daydreaming about being a superstar. Director Geremy Jasper, himself a former indie musician, has written a story that genuinely expresses love for hip-hop and pays homage to “8 Mile” and “Hustle and Flow” in the process. Macdonald’s performance is a revelation, but the casting of foul-mouthed cabaret star Everett in the role of Patti’s mother (who herself has seen failed dreams of musical stardom) is also key to the film’s success. (Digital and cable VOD)
“Princess Cyd”: Chicago-based filmmaker Stephen Cone has spent the past several years making a name for himself by developing perceptive LGBT coming-of-age stories (check out his terrific last film, “Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party,” on Netflix). Newcomer Jessie Pinnick is flat-out brilliant as the title character — a 16-year-old star athlete who escapes from her single father for the summer to go live with her Aunt Miranda (Rebecca Spence). The visit is under the guise of investigating what colleges she might want to apply to, but ultimately Cyd just needs a break. Miranda, the sister of Cyd’s late mother, is a successful author who has comfortably traded in men for books and isn’t quite sure how to handle a teenager. They begin to develop an important bond as the summer progresses, gently nudging each other outside of their respective comfort zones. After meeting a young lesbian barista in the neighborhood, Cyd cautiously begins exploring her feelings and the possibility that her sexuality might be more complex than she had previously thought. Her sun-kissed summer of love is simply sublime. (Digital VOD)
Also on streaming services
“The Big Sick”: The incredible true story of the courtship between Kumali Nanjiani (“Silicon Valley”) and his now-wife Emily Gordon (played here by Zoe Kazan) is depicted in this charming film from Michael Showalter (“Wet Hot American Summer”) that won the Audience Award earlier this year at SXSW. While Kumali’s immigrant family just want to set him up with a nice Pakistani girl, he becomes torn between his heart and those tight-knit family ties after he falls in love with a non-Muslim white woman. Alternating between being uproariously funny and heartbreakingly sad, this is one of the year’s finest films. (Amazon Prime, 4K UHD Available)