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by Bill Gibron

15 Jun 2009

It’s the 25th Anniversary of Buddy Giovinazzo’s cult classic Combat Shock and Troma’s new Tromasterpiece Collection is prepping a full blown two-disc Special Edition DVD to commemorate this monumental movie moment. SE&L will soon be tackling the extra-filled presentation. In the meantime, here is a look at the cover art, and the bonus features anticipated, direct from the company’s press release:

Nearly 25 years after its initial release, Buddy Giovinazzo’s Combat Shock returns from the cult underground to reclaim its title as perhaps the most shocking independent film of the ‘80s. Staten Island born punk rock drummer Buddy Giovinazzo made his indelible D.I.Y. debut as writer/director/producer/editor with this nihilistic, pitch-black saga of poverty, hopelessness and violence that remains as harrowing today as it was at the height of Reagan’s America. While originally marketed as a grindhouse shocker, Combat Shock was instead embraced by alternative audiences around the world as a searing portrait of urban despair and post-Vietnam horror. Troma’s two-disc set includes the original theatrical cut, as well as Giovinazzo’s never-before-seen Director’s Cut under the film’s original tile of American Nightmares. The DVD also features several of Giovinazzo’s ‘80s short films and music videos, and the all-new documentary Post-Traumatic that explores the continued impact and influence of Giovinazzo’s work on current transgressive filmmakers.

Combat Shock launched the career of one of the most unique and enigmatic artists on the international scene. As an author, Buddy’s four celebrated novels had critics hailing him as “the Hubert Selby of the ‘90s”. As writer/director, his 1996 feature No Way Home starred Tim Roth, James Russo and Deborah Kara Unger, and was acclaimed by European audiences for it Cassevettes-influenced realism. When the Berlin film scene embraced Giovinazzo’s provocative output in the ‘90s, he moved to the German capital where he currently directs television crime dramas while writing German-language novels. Giovinazzo recently returned to Los Angeles to direct his first English language film in ten years, Life is Hot in Cracktown, based on his celebrated 1993 novel of the same name. The ensemble drama, which stars Ileana Douglas, RZA, Shannyn Sossamon, Lara Flynn Boyle, Kerry Washington and Vondie Curtis Hall will be released theatrically this summer.

“Maybe the best thing I can say about Combat Shock is that it seems more relevant today than it did when I made it,” Buddy now says. “From the very beginning, I wanted to make a film that showed a slice of life that was not so pretty but always present. Looking back on the film now, there are many things that I would have done differently. But the overall tone, the vision of society and what can happen when we stop caring about each other, I wouldn’t change that for anything.”

Set for a 28 July release, you can pre-order your copy from Amazon.com by clicking HERE

by shathley Q

15 Jun 2009

Following the cataclysmic events of the previous issue, Kyle Rayner returns to Earth not as the universe’s sole remaining Green Lantern, but as the supercharged Ion. His new powers make him near omnipotent, giving control over all matter and energy conversions. He can speed up chemical reactions, just as easily as he can suspend gravity, or cause a mind to not pick up a rock to throw. What’s more, using the Ion, Kyle can duplicate his presence multiple locations. Within the first few pages of the comicbook, Kyle has feed starving masses in Africa, restructured soil there to allow for crops to grow, prevented a drive-by in Oakland, slowed a careening truck in Mexico, DF and foiled a bank heist in London. His power is at once incredible, and fearsome.

Instead of focusing on the exhilaration of Kyle’s newfound powers, writer Judd Winick chooses to present “Day One” as a character study of Kyle himself. Readers easily dismiss the early fears of supporting characters, particularly the fears of Jen, Kyle’s girlfriend and daughter of Golden Age Green Lantern, Alan Scott. Surely it is simply a case of other characters being unable to comprehend the full scope of Kyle’s powers. Surely the Kyle Rayner readers have come to know over the past 100 issues remains unchanged?

As the pages turn, readers find increasing validation for Jen’s fears. If Kyle could easily, and perhaps innocently, “suggest” to his roommate’s subconscious the desire to buy coffee, what else is Kyle doing to manipulate human minds? Is Ion suddenly becoming a beloved superhero a natural response, or is Kyle himself nudging public opinion? As these question’s around Kyle’s influence and values mount, his dark side is glimpsed at when he brokers a peace on the distant planet Tendax by simply preventing any act of violence. To what lengths would Kyle go to ensure peace? And at what cost to personal freedom would such an enduring peace come? Is this the beginning of Kyle’s transformation into a tyrant with universe-wide reach?

In the closing stages of the book, wholly unaware of the events on Tendax, Jen stages an intervention. Can Kyle prove his humanity to her by foregoing his power for just one night. Ultimately Jen concedes the point of his simple vanity in giving himself a haircut is the most human of things to do. The book ends on a melancholy note as Kyle and Jen enjoy a movie together, with Ion nowhere in sight. It is not until the final page that Kyle himself confirms Jen’s and readers’ worst fears. He has not only lied about using his power, but is now completely addicted.

by Matt Mazur

15 Jun 2009

Katey Rich (Cinemablend) and Nathaniel Rogers (The Film Experience) take on the finest offerings of the year, so far, in an engaging, funny vodcast.

by Joseph Kugelmass

15 Jun 2009

Over on MySpace, a scruffy little band called the Heaps emerges from the flaming wreckage of Elvis Costello (now spending several lifetimes in the purgatory of talk show hosting) and Belle & Sebastian (or, How I Found God and Lost Most of My Audience, by Stuart Murdoch) to make two irresistible songs: “Casual Encounters” and “William Baldwin: A Lament”.

The other posted songs work well enough, but these first two gems are not only tuneful, they’re therapy for the unbearable lightness of pop culture and Craigslist. Have a listen.

The Heaps
“Casual Encounters” and “William Baldwin: A Lament” [Streaming]

by Sachyn Mital

15 Jun 2009

While a free show at 2 pm on a weekday in the tourist-teeming Rockefeller Center from a multiplatinum musician should draw a huge crowd, Moby’s small acoustic performance at the NBC Café had only been briefly mentioned on his website so people were not packed shoulder to shoulder. Those folks ‘in the know’ and those fortunate enough to be there all witnessed an intimate showcase with Moby as he played a grab bag of songs and humbly chatted in-between.

When not creating music, Moby has made occasional guest appearances at NYC’s comedy venue the Upright Citizen Brigade Theater. At the café, he got to share some of this lighter side. In between songs, Moby jokingly stated that the first goal of showmanship is to interrupt a song as often as possible, or rather during, switching from piano to guitar or when part of a song eluded him. The intimacy even allowed him to offer sandwiches and fruit from the green room to the audience.

Accompanying Moby was Kelli Scarr, his friend and former lead singer of Moonraker. She has lent her talents to his forthcoming release, Wait for Me and in return he is producing her debut release Piece. Scarr’s warm voice substituted for the old gospel very well on “Natural Blues” and “Honey”. She also sang the title track from his new album and “Southside”.

Moby also sang a couple of covers for which he requested help from the audience. People eagerly sang “doo doo” in Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” and vocalized the trumpet within Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”.  Finally, despite requests to play all day, Moby ended his brief show with a Neil Young cover. Clocking in at around 45 minutes, the show was a great way to spend a lunch break. Seeing an artist in a venue where the sound of a blender can overpower the singing makes a person feel a part of something special.

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