DEKKOO DISPATCH 064 – ‘IN BLOOM’

Title – ‘In Bloom

Director – Chris Michael Birkmeier

Starring – Kyle Wigent, Tanner Rittenhouse, Adam Fane, Jake Andrews

Release Date – 2013

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Love is always best in the early stages when it’s ‘In Bloom‘. Chris Michael Birkmeier’s first feature film captures the innocence and tragedy of first love with a delicate touch reminiscent of Andrew Haigh’s ‘Weekend’. Although whereas ‘Weekend’ features leads from the UK that you can barely understand, ‘In Bloom‘ takes place in Chicago with super cute clean-cut American boys that definitely speak our language 😉

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As the film opens we’re introduced to Kurt and Paul who after running into each other awkwardly at a party try to be amiable with each other until… flashback! :SEVEN MONTHS EARLIER: A much more carefree Kurt smokes a joint in his bedroom while a frazzled Paul stocks shelves in bland looking grocery store. They’re a couple still in the early stages of love where they live separately, but spend all their time together. They go to the beach and play the ‘which guy is the hottest’ game, they have hot sex, and they go to parties together. We quickly find out the reason why Paul’s working hard and Kurt isn’t is because Kurt sells weed. Which isn’t to say selling weed isn’t hard work, but… it just isn’t.

Kurt and Paul’s relationship is tested by the arrival of Kevin, a new client/customer of Kurt’s. A wildly cute young-and-carefree type he definitely is someone that Paul could never be – younger, cuter, and a non-paranoid stoner. We can tell immediately that Kurt is trying his best not to be unfaithful to Paul, but it’s hard when Kevin is the one to make the first move and kiss Kurt. Gasp!! Of course this throws Kurt into a realm of uncertainty about Paul if he’s his one true love. Is he supposed to commit to this person if he’s interested in someone else? If only he didn’t smoke so much weed… Paul also is going through his own issues. “Don’t you get tired of doing the same thing over and over?” He wants to go to Paris and explore. Kurt just wants to ‘chill’ and have sex.

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When I first saw this film I was really taken aback by its honesty and its emotional connection that I could completely relate to. I was lucky enough to meet the filmmakers at their screening at Outfest and was thrilled to meet a group of people who were just like the film they created – smart, in touch with the gay community, and eager to make more films. The director has cited most of the film coming from his own life experiences and it totally shows. Here’s to hoping he creates more feature films – in the meantime he’s been busy creating queer music videos in Los Angeles.

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Watch it with: An ex you’re friendly with.

Mix it with: Beer and weed!

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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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DEKKOO DISPATCH 061 – ‘CAS’

Title – ‘Cas

Director – Joris van den Berg

Starring – Kevin Hassing, Wieger Windhorst, Felix Meyer, Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing

Release Date – 2016

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Hallo from the Netherlands (or Holland if you’d prefer)! The home of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and the inventor of solid chocolate! Ooh la la! It’s also home to a boatload of cute gay couples just waiting to invite you into their apartment so you can sleep on their couch while you worm your way into their lives without realizing it. Well at least I assumed from the movie ‘Cas‘ I just watched that that’s the case. Well I’ll just pretend to myself that it happens allll the time. You’ve gotta live for something…

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Cas‘, a film directed by Joris van den Berg is actually a made-for-TV film which makes me instantly sad that I don’t live in the Netherlands and can’t have something like this broadcasting over the air permeating my entire body with it’s emotional and sexy brilliance. Running at only 48 minutes it’s a breath of fresh air as to what Joris is able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. The way in which the viewer enters the film and is quickly able to take stock of the current situation of the relationship is incredibly strong. We’re immediately aware that we’re in the presence of a couple that’s at the make-or-break stage. They love each other, but they both have long-term needs that could conflict.

Enter our main character Cas who will decide for them if they’re made for this pairing or if they just wish they were. Invited by Sjors to crash on their couch while he looks for a place to live, Cas shows up one day to Pepjin’s surprise. While we’re a little confused at first how the two met, it’s eventually revealed that Sjors had met up with him a few times previously. Pepjin’s reluctance gives way to a welcoming attitude once Cas’ love of 80s music and ‘Twin Peaks’ comes to light. Eventually after a drunken night out the three end up sleeping together and then the real relationship tests really start.

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There’s so much to like about this film. Pepjin’s emotional fragility, Sjors’ tender daddy personality, and Cas’ puppy dog-like charm are a few of them. But other topics like the contrasting desires and goals in a relationship and the nature of monogamy are explored with such a delicate yet strong touch that reminded me of my own relationships and made me question what I want in my future relationships. All in all this is a fantastic 48 minute film and I can’t wait to see what Joris van den Berg is able to do with 96 minutes next time!

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Watch it with: Your boyfriend and your houseboy.

Mix it with: A Heineken (it’s from the Netherlands!!)

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 059 – ‘FORT BUCHANAN’

Title – ‘Fort Buchanan

Director – Benjamin Crotty

Starring – Andy Gillet, David Baïot, Iliana Zabeth, Mati Diop

Release Date – 2014

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Heya! I hope you got a chance this past weekend to catch our newest Dekkoo exclusive film ‘Screwed’, but if you didn’t it’s still there calling out to you from the sun-drenched shores of Finland. And if you did watch it then I’ve got a deep gem from our collection that I think you’ll have some fun with…

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Fort Buchanan‘ is the name of this unique piece of cinema hailing from an American director now living in France. As with someone that’s been immersing themselves in French life he decided to shoot the film in French and yet populate the movie with a decidedly American attitude and aesthetic including quite a bit of country music. I watched this last night with a friend and we were definitely taken aback by how unique the film is (especially once you’re past the initial 15 minute introductory mark). What starts as an ordinary relationship drama about a husband yearning for his husband who’s away at war develops into a layered film about fidelity, age, PTSD, and the acceptance of death.

The film contains four sections each taking place within the four seasons. Most of it takes place at a residence compound of sorts – the titular Fort Buchanan. Roger (our main character for most of the film which by the way only runs at one hour which is the perfect length for a slightly strange movie such as this one) lives at Fort Buchanan with his daughter Roxy along with many other army wives. He misses his husband Frank who’s away fighting in Djibouti and tries to keep his mind on staying in shape, reading, and wearing wild flashy jackets. The other army wives try and console him and encourage him to pursue ‘play dates’. Shocked at this new piece of information he digs deeper and finds out that all of the army wives occasionally sleep with women and so we begin to realize that their next target is Roger’s daughter. Chasing sex is most of what takes place in ‘Spring’.

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Fast-forward to ‘Summer’ and we’ve traveled to Djibouti (in a fantastic CGI-ish transition that I went crazy over!) where we finally get to meet Frank and witness the interactions between the two. Meanwhile Roxy is exploring the local flavors and testing out her budding sexuality on the dance floor. Past this point I don’t want to say much more about the plot, but my advice is to go with the flow when it comes to the random character that shows up in ‘Fall’. It’s confusing at first, but he’s introduced for a reason to be sure. Oh I also need to be sure to let you know it’s shot in 16mm which adds to the hazy yet gorgeous nature of the film. It definitely feels like it was shot in the 80s or early 90s. Go check it out!!

 

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Watch it with: A friend who enjoys an experimental adventure.

Mix it with: A light refreshing white wine.

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 053 – ‘I’M FINE’ SEASON 2 TRAILER PREMIERE

Title – ‘I’m Fine Season 2 Trailer

Director – Brandon Kirby

Starring – Perry Powell, Lee Doud, Shaughn Buchholz, Brittney King

Release Date – 2018

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THEY’REEE BACK! Well almost anyway…

Nate, Jeff, Andy, Brian, and Nicole: They’re all back and ready for more life lessons and queer hijinks in ‘I’m Fine’ Season 2! It premieres January 25th and today you can finally see the full season 2 trailer here. And here! and heeereeee.

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Season 2 picks up right where the last one left off with our titular hero/anti-hero Nate finally getting over his relationship with Joey, but still figuring out his delicate friendship with Jeff. The rest of his friends are each figuring out life in LA – job hunting, open relationships, and of course – sex.

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I asked the director what viewers should look forward to in season 2:

They should be excited to get to know the incredible cast of supporting characters who orbit Nate – we get a more in depth look at their friendships. Oh, and there is some fresh eye candy, too. 🙂

‘I’m Fine’ Season 2 premieres January 25th exclusively on Dekkoo! Catch up on Season 1 here.

 

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 052 – ‘KUNTERGRAU’

Title – ‘Kuntergrau

Director – Kai Kreuser, Maik Scholz, Nick Schröder

Starring – Fabian Freistühler, Daniel Kosic, Marcel Meyer, Moustafa Tarraf

Release Date – 2015

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Happy new year everyone!! Hope you all had at least some chance to rest, relax, and reflect on the coming year and all the exciting (and dreadful) surprises that lie in wait. Here’s to hoping you also got the chance to watch some movies to ring in the new year. Did any of you watch ‘Make the Yuletide Gay‘ with friends and/or family? I showed it to my mom and she was quite tickled by it!

I know the wait for Season 2 of ‘I’m Fine’ has felt like forever, but it’s nearly over!! It premiers January 25th right here exclusively on Dekkoo and you can check out a little teaser here! The full trailer is coming out veryyyy soon! In the meantime we’ve got something very similar for you – a webseries from the capital of Germany – Cologne dubbed ‘Kuntergrau‘. At 5 episodes averaging 12 minutes each you’ll be either binge it in one sitting or give yourself 5 fantastic morning commutes or work lunches worth of cute young queerness!

Being gay and living in Cologne in Germany and not Berlin must feel just like living in Pittsburgh versus NYC. But that’s where ‘Queer as Folk’ succeeded and that’s how ‘Kuntergrau‘ works its charm. There’s definitely something about portrayals gay life in a smaller city that seems more tight-knit and adventurous. It’s also this exact need to come together that inspired the production of the series. Volunteers aged 17-27 worked on this project over the course of several months and you can tell that a lot of love and hard work went into it.

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Kuntergrau‘ follows five friends living as openly gay men in Cologne. It absolutely tries to do away with the typical coming-of-age closeted stereotypical storylines and instead tries to focus on issues that young gay men are living with in metropolitan areas. All the characters are very charming and unique in their own way, not to mention very cute! Jan and Noah are the first of the friends we meet and they also happen to be lovers. Complicating their relationship is Noah’s desire to be extremely masochistic and submissive in bed which cuddle-friendly Jan doesn’t enjoy. The handsome Marcel seems to tie a lot of the characters together with his openness towards sexuality and the fact that he’s the only single one. The final couple of the 5-some is the extremely cute and shy Leopold and a fresh face in Cologne; Lukas. There aren’t many supporting characters, but Leopold’s Grandma Margarethe is adorable!!!

It’s hard to pack a lot of content into something so short, but ‘Kuntergrau‘ absolutely has a lot to say. There’s a lot of emotional digging around the issue of sexuality in Jan and Noah’s relationship – is it truly love if one person’s sexual desires can’t be fulfilled? Lukas and Leopold have their own baggage to unpack – Leopold is very virginal/shy and Lukas is hooking up with someone outside of the relationship. Finally the show even tackles HIV with Marcel as a proud HIV-positive man simply trying to not let the virus take over his carefree and hookup-friendly life. The show really took me by surprise as I hadn’t heard of it, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this team as I think there’s some fantastic talent both in front of and behind the camera.

 

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Watch it with: A few friends

Mix it with: Vodka/Soda

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DEKKOO DISPATCH 051 – ‘LOGGERHEADS’

Title – ‘Loggerheads

Director – Tim Kirkman

Starring – Kip Pardue, Michael Kelly, Tess Harper, Bonnie Hunt, Chris Sarandon, Michale Learned, Robin Weige

Release Date – 2005

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Merry post-Christmas everyone! I hope everyone got that special gift (:cough: sling :cough:) you had on your wish list. I got one of those nifty VR thingys which has been fun to play with. I have yet to watch any Dekkoo films on it, but that’s definitely in the future! Last week I recommended ‘Make the Yuletide Gay‘ to watch with your family as the perfect Christmas movie and this week since I figure many of you are still with family I’d recommend another good movie to watch with the fam.

Before ‘Brokeback Mountain’ set the world on fire in 2005 there was a smaller film called ‘Loggerheads‘ that made quite a splash via the Sundance Film Festival and Outfest where it won the grand prize. Following three characters and their search for inner-fulfillment Tim Kirkman’s third film is a quiet yet stunning piece of filmmaking. The three main characters from a sort of triangle:

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Mark – A handsome drifter, Mark sleeps on the beaches of Kure Beach where loggerhead turtles come to bury their eggs. An activist of sorts, he does his best to make sure tourists don’t inadvertently kill the turtles. After he meets George, an owner of a motel in the area, he begins a romance made more complicated by his relationship with his non-accepting family and his HIV status. The uber-sexy Kip Pardue plays the role of Mark who’s been in tons of films including ‘The Rules of Attraction‘!

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Elizabeth – “I know that it’s hard to be the wife of a preacher” is spoken to Elizabeth at one point in the film and for me that pretty much spelled out the difficulty she has going through her life. Elizabeth’s life is ruled by the church and her husband’s unwavering belief in the bible. That’s why she no longer talks about her gay adopted son Mark and why she becomes very nervous when a new family moves in across the street who could be gay. I believe Elizabeth is the one that makes the most progress in the film – she appears to give up several times, but something within her always pushes her to re-visit an emotion that defeated her once before.

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Grace – Now midway through her life the one decision she constantly regrets is giving up her child to adoption. She sees her son in so many people passing by on the street that she decides that it’s time to find him so she can find some peace within herself. Grace quits her dead-end customer service job to move back in with her mother and begins the search for her son. Grace is a character that you really feel for in the movie. Her mother convinced her that giving up her baby would have been good for the future, but now that she realizes that her future isn’t so great she pines for the life that she could have had as a mother. It’s also great to see Bonnie Hunt (‘Jumanji’!) in such a touching role.

The way that the movie cuts all three of these storylines together really elevates the film to another level where you feel connected to all of these characters. I also love the fact that all of these plot lines take place in small towns. It’s charming and gives the film a boost of authenticity that city films can lack. I hope you get lost in the romantic, longing, and intense spiritual feeling of hope that ‘Loggerheads‘ imparts.

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Watch it with: Family & Friends

Mix it with: A White Wine

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