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Raunchy ‘Blockers’ also has a lot of heart

Matt Shiverdecker
From left, John Cena, Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz star in “Blockers.” Contributed by Quantrell D. Colbe

Here are some interesting new releases available now from cable and digital providers as well as a title that has recently become available for streaming.

Video on Demand

“Blockers”: Raunchy teen movies are nothing new, although their popularity has certainly waned since the glory days of “Porky’s” or even “American Pie.” The directorial debut from Kay Cannon (who wrote the “Pitch Perfect” movies) is a surprisingly wonderful, sex-positive comedy that is not afraid to cross the line. Three overprotective parents (John Cena, Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz) accidentally uncover their daughters’ secret pact to lose their virginity on prom night and decide to stop at nothing to prevent it from happening. Despite the crude antics, the movie carefully balances the lives and desires of its teenage characters while also showing the anxiety and emotional difficulties that parents can have at realizing their kids are growing up and there’s nothing that can stop it from happening. The casting on this movie is superb, and Cena in particular shows us again that he has tremendous comic timing and is up for anything. There is a lot of gross-out humor but also a lot of love. The parents are misguided and the kids are desperate to do things for the wrong reasons. What an oddly perfect distillation of life. (Cable and digital VOD, available in 4K Ultra HD)

“A Kid Like Jake”: Claire Danes and Jim Parsons star in this timely drama as two parents who are struggling to raise their 4-year-old son. The head of his preschool (Octavia Spencer) describes Jake as “gender creative.” He only wants to watch Disney princess movies and wear dresses, becoming despondent and even violent if he doesn’t get his way. Based on a play, the film does focus on the actions of the adults more than the child, which feels like somewhat of a missed opportunity, but Danes is outstanding and delivers multiple emotionally devastating scenes that reduced me to tears. A powerful take on a sensitive subject. (Cable and digital VOD)

Also on streaming services

“It”: Currently the highest-grossing horror film of all-time, this adaptation of Stephen King’s massive 1986 novel follows a group of children in a small Maine town who are terrorized by a demon who manifests as Pennywise, a terrifyingly evil clown. South Korean cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung (“Oldboy,” “The Handmaiden”) expertly casts a dark and rainy pall over the proceedings. The cast, including Jaeden Lieberher (“Midnight Special”) and Finn Wolfhard (“Stranger Things”), recalls “Stand By Me” — another note-perfect assemblage of young actors from a story written by King. Ultimately, Bill Skarsgard steals the show as It/Pennywise. His performance is legendarily creepy and not easily forgotten. Expect a sequel to hit theaters next year. (HBO Now)