DEKKOO DISPATCH 067 – ‘BUGCRUSH’

Title – ‘Bugcrush

Director – Carter Smith

Starring – Josh Caras, Donald Cumming, Eleonore Hendricks, David Tennent

Release Date – 2006

 

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Well it’s a very dark and yet exciting day here in Dekkoo-world with the launch of Carter Smith’s award-winning short-ish film from 2006 ‘Bugcrush‘! This is absolutely, positively, my favorite short film ever – it’s disturbing, sexy, and gorgeously made. The photography, sound design, and choice of locations all come together to reach a level of perfection for my particular aesthetic interests. The short premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to win the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film! Based on his success at Sundance Carter Smith went on to direct the Summer blockbuster horror film ‘The Ruins’ and later in 2014 the intimate ghost love-triangle film ‘Jamie Marks is Dead’.

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Bugcrush‘ is set in a small town in the forest-heavy state of Maine. We meet Ben – a mousey nerd-ish loner type who happens to be the first person to talk to the dark, mysterious, and sexy new kid in school, Grant who immediately upon arrival gets an immediate detention for smoking. What does Ben do then? He gets detention on purpose so he can stare at Grant for a couple of hours. Ben’s friends try to talk him down from his obsession with Grant. They warn him that he’s just a straight guy that’ll beat him up if he knew Ben was into him. But none of this deters Ben who proceeds to work up the courage one school day to propose a hangout with Grant that leads to a very bumpy night to say the least…

The film is an adaptation of a short story by Scott Treleaven, an artist who founded the queer pagan punk ‘zine ‘This is the Salivation Army’ back in the 90’s. It was collected in the queer horror anthology ‘Queer Fear 2’ which is where Carter Smith first read it. “The moment I read the short story the very first time, it was like being hit by a bus,” Carter Smith said, waiting in a Dallas airport for a changeover flight to Salt Lake City. “I was like, ‘This is the film that I can make better than anybody else. This is the film I have to make.’ It just sort of clobbered me over the head.” Before making ‘Bugcrush‘ Carter Smith was a professional fashion photographer and commercial director. He was certainly able to bring over his keen instinct for stylization and photography to create a dark and foreboding landscape of teenage angst and sexuality.

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The film was shot on 35mm and the color timing is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Greens have a corpse-like quality to them (except when it comes to Ben’s eyes which seem to be leaping out of the screen at you) and the roads at night are a gorgeous yellow-grey color. Another part of the production that leaps out at you is the sound design. The entire film is filled with eerie moans and distorted childish voices that promote the escalating tension in everyday normal situations like school hallways. The idea to un-synchronize the sound during the driving scene at night is totally brilliant! And so was the idea to have lots of whispering voices giving you additional info about characters. Turn up your volume!!

This movie has everything! Pretty guys, teenage crushes, weird drugs, sexy smoking, metal music, awkward hidden sexuality, creepy straight guys, and cockroaches! Watch ‘Bugcrush‘ with your ‘crush’ tonight!

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Watch it with: Someone you have a dark crush on…

Mix it with: Vodka.

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New This Week – 4/6/18

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Ian McKellen delivers an award-winning performance as Hollywood horror director James Whale. It’s 1957, and Whale’s heyday as the director of ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ and ‘The Invisible Man’ is long behind him. Retired and a semi-recluse, he lives his days accompanied only by images from his past. When a handsome young gardener (played by the beautiful Brendan Fraser) enters the picture, the pair develop an unlikely friendship. Watch ‘Gods And Monster’ now on Dekkoo!

This is the art for the gay short film, 'Turn It Around'

When the fifteen year old Bram meets Florian at a house party, he immediately falls for him. There’s only one problem: nobody knows Bram is gay. Watch ‘Turn It Around’ now on Dekkoo!

This is the art for the gay movie, 'Finding Neighbors'

A successful stay-at-home graphic novelist, has hit a mid-life and creative crisis. When his wife begins to suspect an affair she is surprised to learn he’s spending all of his time with his gay neighbor. ‘Finding Neighbors’ is now available to stream on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week: A gay story from Sri Lanka, where being gay is illegal.

DEKKOO DISPATCH 065 – ‘GODS AND MONSTERS’

Title – ‘Gods and Monsters

Director – Bill Condon

Starring – Sir Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser, Lynn Redgrave, Lolita Davidovich

Release Date – 1998

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“To a new world of gods and monsters!” 
— Dr. Pretorius to Dr. Frankenstein in ‘Bride of Frankenstein’

We’ve got a wonderful treat for you this week on Dekkoo! The Academy Award winning film ‘Gods and Monsters‘ by Bill Condon! Released theatrically in 1998 it went to on win the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for two other categories – Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. The script for the film was based on a biography of famous director James Whale called ‘Father of Frankenstein’ by Christopher Bram. Before we jump into talking about the movie I think it’s important to talk about the background of our protagonist: James Whale.

James-Whale A quick background on the real James Whale:
While James Whale directed nearly 20 films by now only a few have survived the test of time. Most notable among those are ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Bride of Frankenstein’, ‘The Invisible Man’, and ‘The Old Dark House’. Born in 1889 Whale was one of seven children and had to stop attending school in his teens because of money issues in the family. He started as a cobbler and ended up using his blossoming artistic abilities to paint signs for neighbors. When World War I broke out in 1914 he decided to enlist in the army and avoid the draft that he knew was inevitable. In 1917 he was captured in Flanders and remained imprisoned for more than a year. During that time he used his creative talents to amuse and entertain his fellow soldiers with amateur productions. After the war he spent his time trying to sell cartoons before eventually finding his calling directing plays which he did from 1922 to 1929. After the success of various productions he ventured to Hollywood where producers were looking for directors that had experience with dialog since Hollywood was going through a transition from silent films to talking films. He started off at Paramount Pictures and eventually made his way to Universal Pictures where he met Carl Laemmle, Jr. who offered him the chance to direct any property the studio owned. He chose Frankenstein.

The movie takes place in the 50s – long after the glory days of ‘Frankenstein’. In the 50s James had settled into his Pacific Palisades abode and had used the pool to his advantage; throwing pool parties where large groups of young men fooled around with each other while he watched. After having a small stroke in 1956 he became more withdrawn and hardly left the house. Enter Clayton (played by Brenden Fraser) – the new beefcake gardener. Some have noted that his tall lanky appearance is similar to that of the monster from ‘Frankenstein’. James takes an immediate liking to him and invites him to pose for some sketches. During these sessions they get to know each other and quickly become friends. There are some speed bumps though mostly owing to Whale’s tendency to lapse into memories about parties, sex, and boys which makes Clayton wildly uncomfortable. Watching from the sidelines during this tentative courtship/friendship is Hanna (played by Lynn Redgrave and nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars), his loyal housemaid who clearly disapproves of his homosexuality and tries to place herself in the middle of anything she deems suspicious.

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The film oscillates between these sketching sessions, memories from Whales’ childhood and later career, some interactions with fan, (‘take off your clothes and I’ll tell you everything’) and a past lover. Bringing the fun down a notch is Whales’ medical conditions – his strokes have left him severely ill and he toys with the idea of suicide. Ian McKellen is absolutely wonderful in the role of James Whale. He inhabits the playful, sexual, tormented, and reminiscent mind with the skill someone only of someone his caliber can deliver. He truly delivers a performance worthy of winning Best Actor at the Oscars, but sadly he was only nominated for it. The film is also a wonderful accomplishment for Bill Condon who later went on to direct ‘Kinsey’ and ‘Dreamgirls’ along with a host of other more mainstream fare like ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn’. It’s a film that will stay with you long after the closing credits. A beautiful swan song to creativity and a life lived honestly.

 

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Watch it with: A group of your creative friends.

Mix it with: Champagne.

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 062 – ‘SASHA’

Title – ‘Sasha

Director – Dennis Todorovic

Starring – Sasa Kekez, Predrag Bjelac, Ljubisa Gruicic, Zeljka Preksavec

Release Date – 2010

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It’s Wednesday and tonight you deserve a good ‘ole heart-warming hump day movie! I  proudly present to you the crowd-pleasing gay coming-of-age/romance/daddy film ‘Sasha‘ directed by Dennis Todorovic. This film went under the radar back in 2010, but it really shouldn’t have and Dekkoo is the perfect place for you to re-discover this gay gem!

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Sasha‘ rises above movies of it’s ilk due to a few factors, but the most noticeable one is the fact that Sasha comes from a family of immigrants. Mistaken for the most part as Serbians (although really from Montenegro) Sasha’s family now lives in Germany and are outsiders for the most part. The only piece of Sasha’s life that really connects him to his peers is his love of music. He’s a piano player and a very serious one at that. He trains hard to be accepted to the best music school in Germany and that’s where our love interest comes into play. Sasha’s love of music isn’t the only thing propelling him forward, but also his instructor who he’s madly fallen in love with. Enter Gebhard – the classic stereotypical hunky German guy in his late-30s who’s passionate about music, life, and swimming in really skimpy swim suits!

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When Gebhard tells Sasha he’s leaving the city Sasha realizes that the next few weeks are his ‘now or never’ moment. If he wants to be with the love of his life (Daddy!) he needs to come out and confess himself. If only it was that easy… He also has to focus on the upcoming piano audition, pay attention to his best friend Jiao (a violinist) who’s totally in love with him, and deal with his crazy immigrant family – of which his father is pretty homophobic, so there’s that all to deal with.

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Fun Fact: Gebhard (played by Tim Bergmann) played another gay man 14 years earlier in ‘Regular Guys‘ which is also available on Dekkoo! So if you’re in love and can’t get enough Gebhard there’s more!

 

 

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Watch it with: All of your romantic-leaning friends.

Mix it with: A German wine.

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New This Week – 2/16/18

Watch the gay movie Screwed on Dekkoo.com

Seventeen-year-old Miku is trying to come to terms with his sexuality and find his place in the world. After his parents find out he threw a wild party while they were away, he is to spend the summer with them at their cottage. A flirtation soon develops with Elias, the boy next door. As they spend the summer escaping their dysfunctional families, a relationship quickly blossoms. But they soon realize that love is not as easy as it seems. ‘Screwed’ is available now, exclusively on Dekkoo.com – one month before DVD!

Stream the gay short film 'Other People's People' on Dekkoo.com

An ensemble comedy about the intersecting loves, lies and indiscretions of three couples in Brooklyn. Watch ‘Other People’s People’ on Dekkoo.com!

Watch the gay drama 'Hate Crime' on Dekkoo.com!

In the drama ‘Hate Crime’, A gay couple suddenly encounter intolerance and hostility at the hands of their new neighbor, the son of a fundamentalist preacher.

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Coming next week: In this 90’s talk show an American fitness instructor, actor, and comedian tried to make dream come true!

 

DEKKOO DISPATCH 058 – ‘WILD REEDS’

Title – ‘Wild Reeds

Director – André Téchiné

Starring – Élodie Bouchez, Gaël Morel, Stéphane Rideau, Frédéric Gorny

Release Date – 1994

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Ah the French… While we’re partying it up and watching TV they’re contemplating life and reading philosophy – or at least that’s what they want us to think! Either way the French make some great movies especially dealing with teenage angst which is the subject of today’s dispatch! Enter the world of André Téchiné’s ‘Wild Reeds‘ (Les Roseaux Sauvages). It was hailed as an instant classic when it came out in France in ’94 and even beat out ‘Queen Margot’ (by Patrice Chéreau [‘L’homme Blesse‘]) for the César award (the equivalent of our Oscar). We’re showcasing a new HD Restoration that will blow your socks off!

Wild Reeds‘ tells the story of four teenagers making the transition from childhood in the era of the late days of the Algerian War which took place from 1954-1962. The movie focuses the most on Francois who’s discovering his budding attraction to men. Conveniently he becomes friends with the sexy Serge who is open to ‘experimenting’ with Francois, but nothing more beyond that. Of course that frustrates Francois who feels a real attraction to Serge to which he confides in his best friend Maite, the daughter of their teacher with communist leanings (Madame Alvarez). The film starts with a joyous wedding with Serge’s older brother confiding in Alvarez that he’s heard communists might be able to smuggle him out of the war. When she refuses to help he’s forced to head back to the war where he tragically dies. This sets in motion a series of events that bring the 3 adolescents together to figure out the next steps their life will take.

Senses of Cinema had this to say about the title of the film:

The title Wild Reeds (Les roseaux sauvages) echoes a poetic fable by Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695): “The Oak and the Reed”. Boasting of his strength, the proud oak tree offers to shelter the frail reed. But the reed rejects the oak and, when a storm blows, the reed bends with the wind and survives, while the oak is torn up by its roots. In concert with this, all of Wild Reeds’ adolescent characters need to learn to bend from their initial, inflexible positions and accept the ambiguities inherent in adulthood.

There are so many reasons to watch this film!! Besides the fact that you’ll get to witness the birth of the modern French coming-of-age film there’s a wealth of talent involved in this film that went on to make lots more amazing movies (a bunch of which you’ve probably seen!).

André Téchiné – The director of countless amazing French films. He’s directed some of the best queer films of all time including ‘Being 17’ and ‘The Witnesses’.
Gaël Morel – The lead of ‘Wild Reeds‘ attained much critical acclaim for his portrayal of Francois, but his passion rested in being behind the camera and just two years later directed the popular film ‘Full Speed’ in which he cast his co-star from ‘Wild Reeds’ Stéphane Rideau! He also directed the steamy gay thriller ‘Our Paradise’.
Stéphane Rideau – Stéphane went on to become a prolific actor in his own right starring in the subversive comedy ‘Sitcom’ by Francois Ozon and the popular gay romance movie ‘Come Undone’ by Sebastian Lifshitz.
Jacques Nolot – A very famous French actor, he later went on to write and direct the classic queer films ‘Porn Theatre’ and ‘Before I Forget’.

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Watch it with: With your French film-loving friends.

Mix it with: A French red wine of course!

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 057 – ‘SCREWED’

Title – ‘Screwed’

Director – Nils-Erik Ekblom

Starring – Mikko Kauppila, Valtteri Lehtinen, Sanna Majuri, Sami Huhtala

Release Date – 2017

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Next week we’re bringing you a gay title direct from the biggest gay film festivals right into your living rooms! On February 15th get ready to be ‘Screwed’…

If the film sounds familiar that’s because right after Frameline (the oldest queer film festival in the world!) we here at Dekkoo made headlines by acquiring the film just for all of you right out of the jam-packed world premiere. We were so impressed by this audacious and sexy coming-of-age film that we just had to immediately grab it and make sure you all were the first to see it. That’s why it will be exclusively available on Dekkoo for a whole month before it hits DVD.

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Elias & Miku

‘Screwed’ comes to us from the mind of Nils-Erik Ekblom – a filmmaker who decided to explore the life of a fairly normal gay teenager in Finland and what happens when he comes face to face with desires he decides he doesn’t want to run from. In interviews Nils has explained that he feels gay people aren’t portrayed authentically in Finnish cinema and that for years they’ve been the butt of jokes. He desired to create an accurate portrait of queer life here and now in Finnish culture. Indeed if you look up Finnish gay films you won’t find much of anything sadly. Now we know why ‘Tom of Finland’ wanted to come to California 🙂

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Miku

Alright enough of the back-story! Let’s talk about the boys! Meet our cute main character – 17-year-old Miku. Jesus that name is adorable… Miku’s life is very static – you can absolutely tell something needs to change and this is the year that he takes some chances in life. A good way to start is by throwing a house party and losing his virginity his weird older brothers advises him. Thus Miku throws said party and thus his parent’s house nearly gets demolished in the teenage debauchery that ensues. Of course it’s bad enough to feel the wrath of his parents in general, but it’s even worse because they go on summer vacation immediately afterwards and he’s stuck in a small cabin with them!

Luckily there’s a surprise just down the river bend… No I’m not kidding. Literally a hot next door neighbor named Elias rows down the river and comes to introduce himself to Miku’s family. Once Elias sees Miku he’s very taken whereas Miku looks like he wants to run away as far as possible from the feelings that are coursing through him. It’s like watching someone in fight-or-flight mode. After the two finally start talking and taking little adventures in the countryside together it’s clear that they’re both in for a large dose of first love – with all the wonderful earth-shaking feelings it can produce. Of course ‘Screwed’ doesn’t just focus on the gay angle of life, it also rounds it out with sibling trouble, rocky marriages, and general family drama.

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Elias

We’re incredibly thrilled to bring you this sexy, amazingly gorgeous film directly to you first before anyone else. We hope you love it as much as us!

Trailer:

 

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Watch it with: With lots of friends! Pack ’em in!

Mix it with: White wine.

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