New This Week – 7/13/18

TheRevival

In ‘The Revival’, a secret love affair between a southern Baptist preacher and a young drifter challenges the equilibrium of a growing church. Stream this new gay film now on Dekkoo!

Madonna: Truth or Dare

This documentary chronicles Madonna’s controversial 1990 “Blonde Ambition” international tour. The film is a behind-the-scenes look at Madonna’s relationships with her dancers and crew, her then-boyfriend Warren Beatty, and her family and friends, achieving an intimate glimpse into the boundary-pushing singer’s drive and individuality. ‘Madonna: Truth or Dare” is now available on Dekkoo!

This is the art for the gay short film, 'Breaking Fast'

On the holiest night during the month of Ramadan, Mo, a practicing Muslim reluctantly attends his best friend’s birthday party, where he unexpectedly meets Kal, a 30-year-old all-American white guy, who catches him by surprise with each twist and turn through the streets of Los Angeles. ‘Breaking Fast’ is now available to stream on Dekkoo.

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Coming next week: “Shimmeringly beautiful and utterly real.” – Stephen Holden, THE NEW YORK TIMES

Let’s play Truth or Dare

Truth or Dare is coming to Dekkoo starting July 12!

An up close and personal documentary chronicling Madonna’s unforgettable 1990 “Blond Ambition Tour,” Truth or Dare has become legendary, taking us backstage and under the covers with the music and pop culture icon. This film showed the Queen of Pop as never before – as not only a singer, dancer, sex goddess and savvy businesswoman, but as a den mother to her backup dancers.

Madonna’s dancers were almost all gay, and showed their sexual identity in the tour film (greatly encouraged by Madonna’s desire for them to ‘express themselves’).

Madonna with her backup dancers from the Blonde Ambition Tour
Madonna with her backup dancers

At the height of the AIDS epidemic and in the aftermath of the conservative Reagan era, Truth or Dare introduced audiences to fun-loving, bold and larger-than-life gay characters. The film was ground-breaking, featuring two guys kissing passionately and everyone else talking openly.

Madonna, determined to push the envelope, defended the film ferociously: “If you keep putting something in people’s faces, eventually, maybe they can come to terms with it.” The message stuck: even today, the dancers receive thank-you letters from people around the world recalling how the film changed their lives. Their openness turned out to be an inspiration to many.

This is the original movie poster for Madonna: Truth or Dare
The original poster for Madonna: Truth or Dare

Truth or Dare makes its Dekkoo debut on July 12. Whether you’ve seen it before or not, make sure to check it out and cherish the magic.

Pride Month Spotlight: Vito

“Enormously entertaining… Incisive and illuminating. This emotionally powerful documentary…is the stirring testament he deserves.” – The Hollywood Reporter

“Hugely moving and even more inspiring.” – LA Weekly

“I highly recommend it to anyone interested in pop culture, in civil rights, or in how the two are deeply connected. Through his story, ‘Vito’ becomes not just a biography but a history of his times, as a fight against discrimination became a fight for life.” – Time Magazine

“Involving… vibrant. A dramatic focal point in the history of gay rights.” – Variety

 

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On June 27, 1969, a police raid on a Greenwich Village gay bar took a surprising turn when patrons decided it was time to fight back. As a riot erupted outside the Stonewall Inn, a new era in the Gay Rights Movement was born. You know the story.

Vito Russo, a 23-year-old film student, was among those in the crowd the unforgettable night. Over the next twenty years, until his death from AIDS in 1990, Vito would go on to become one of the most outspoken and inspiring activists in the LGBT community’s fight for equal rights.

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In the midst of his involvement with Act Up and the fight against AIDS, Vito was also a prolific writer. His seminal book The Celluloid Closet explored the ways in which gay and lesbian characters were (most often subtly) portrayed on film, what lessons those characters taught gay and straight audiences, and how those negative images were at the root of society’s homophobia.

Even before the book was published, Vito was taking The Celluloid Closet on the road, traveling to gay film festivals and college campuses for an entertaining and informative lecture/ clip show that intertwined Vito’s love of show business and radical gay politics. He continued writing, lecturing, speaking out and acting up until just months before his death.

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Directed by award-winner Jeffrey Schwarz (I Am Divine, Tab Hunter Confidential, The Fabulous Allen Carr), Vito paints a galvanizing portrait of this outspoken activist in the LGBT community’s struggle for equal rights, using period footage and film clips to capture a vibrant era of gay culture. It’s simply a must-see.

Vito is streaming right now on Dekkoo as one of our Pride Picks. Make sure you check it out if you haven’t seen it already! 

New This Week – 5/18/18

This is the art for the gay movie, 'Grimsey'

After his boyfriend Norberto breaks up with him and runs away to Iceland, heartbroken Bruno decides to set out to find him. He soon meets Arnau, a handsome local tour guide in Reykjavik, who is determined to help Bruno in his exceedingly idealistic search. Their trip will become a grieving process for them both, until they reach the remote island of Grimsey. There, Bruno will have to learn what love really means in order to move on with his life. ‘Grimsey’ is a available to stream exclusively on Dekkoo, months before its release on DVD!

This is the art for the gay short film, 'Prora'

Prora, on the Baltic Sea. Mysterious, endless. In this deserted former Nazi holiday camp and communist military complex, teenagers Jan and Matthieu embark on an adventure that puts their friendship at risk. Watch ‘Prora’ now on Dekkoo.com!

This is the art for the gay documentay, 'To Be Takei'

A look at the many roles played by eclectic 77-year-old actor/activist George Takei, whose wit, humor and grace have helped him to become an internationally beloved figure and Internet phenomenon with 7-million Facebook fans and counting. ‘To Be Takei’ is available to stream now on Dekkoo!

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Coming next week – A studied examination of how one man folds jarring events into the everyday fabric of his life.

 

New This Week – 4/20/18

This is the art for the gay movie 'Al Berto'

It’s the summer of ’75 in Sines, Portugal. Al Berto, the writer, embodies an entire moving generation. He and his friends exude youth, eccentricity and hope for the future – but right after the fall of Portugal’s dictatorship system, the country is not yet ready for his love story. ‘Al Berto’ is now available on Dekkoo two months before DVD!

This is the art for the gay film, 'Turtle Hill, Brooklyn'

A funny, sincere, slice of life about a couple just trying to figure it out. Mateo and Will invite their friends over for Will’s 30th birthday. After a few surprise visitors, they get through the day, but realize that doubting your partner isn’t nearly as scary as doubting yourself. Stream ‘Turtle Hill, Brooklyn’ now on Dekkoo!

This is the art for the gay short film, 'Bugcrush'

A small-town loner’s fascination with the new kid in town leads him into something much more sinister than he could ever have imagined. Watch the gay short film, ‘Bugcrush’ now on Dekkoo.

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Coming next week: From the Award Winning filmmaker Tadeo Garcia comes a love story for our time. 

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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