DID YOU READ

Albert Pyun’s “Tales” Stand Tall

Albert Pyun’s “Tales” Stand Tall (photo)

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In the independent filmmaking world, Albert Pyun is a little more independent than most. Having made his directorial debut with “The Sword and the Sorcerer” in 1982 after serving an apprenticeship under Akira Kurosawa, Pyun carved out a unique niche as a director of low-budget, high-concept genre films starring casts slightly past their prime.

Some will think that’s a charitable description for Pyun, who has been derided as “the new Ed Wood,” but consider that his pairings of rap stars and action stars (beginning with the 1997 Ice-T/Christopher Lambert team-up “Mean Guns”) begat the trend Joel Silver popularized in the early naughts, and he was once just two weeks shy of directing “Spider-Man” (which he’ll explain below).

These days, Pyun’s movies rarely see the inside of a theater, but that’s made him a pioneer in another arena: streaming video-on-demand. With his latest film, “Tales of an Ancient Empire,” a spiritual “not for children” sequel to “Sword and the Sorcerer” starring the aforementioned Lambert and fellow titans of the fantasy genre Kevin Sorbo, Pyun is teaming up with Magic Rock Entertainment to bring the film directly into homes nationwide beginning on July 21st.

06172010_KevinSorboTalesofAnAncientEmpire.jpgIt kicks off with a live webcast of the film’s premiere on the eve of Comic-Con in San Diego where fans will be able to interact with Pyun and some of the cast during a post-screening Q & A via Twitter and Facebook. In the mean time, I had some questions of my own for the man about his long, unusual career.

More and more filmmakers are having to get used to the fact that their film will likely not have a theatrical release, but you haven’t had one in a while. Has that made it easier for you to embrace VOD?

When I started making films, there were only [maybe] 300 films released in the world in the entire year, so to be one of those 300, you had to jump through the hoops of making sure that the film was viable. Nowadays, with all the different platforms that are available and how easy it is for everybody to make a movie, people still need some type of a vetting process for their film and their ideas to make sure that it’s viable in the market.

I learned early on that once those other markets came online, like home video and cable, they were all viable outlets that got the film out to a much bigger audience than theatrical ever would. Theatrical is not something that filmmakers should think about initially. They should think about how to connect to their audience and then figure out what the best platform will be to connect to that audience. Theatrical is a little vanity-oriented. [Filmmakers] see it as validation it’s a real movie, and I’ve never seen that.

06222010_sowrdandsorcerror4.jpgWith “Sword and the Sorcerer” in the ’80s and “Sorcerers” in the ’90s and now this film, you seem to return to the fantasy genre every once a decade. What keeps you coming back?

I enjoy the fact that it allows you to put your imagination on the screen unbridled and I enjoy creating worlds — over half my films are about creating an entire universe that came out of my or our writers’ imagination. Last year, the film I enjoyed most was “District 9” — I like movies that transport you to a different setting and the way the stories can play out there in more imaginative ways than contemporary ones.

But you also went through a period in the ’90s where you were making some pretty gritty films usually featuring rap stars.

There weren’t many rap movies being made — I think “Mean Guns” was the first pairing of a traditional action hero, in that case Christopher Lambert, with a rapper, which was Ice-T. There were a lot of those movies after that, but I think my place in the industry has been to stay ahead of the curve in the concepts. In the late ’80s, visually, rap was pretty interesting and I liked what the music was saying, so I tried to bring that to the movies. Also, those were the first movies I tried to do digitally.

Air France lost half of the three movies that I did with Snoop Dogg and Big Pun and Fat Joe, so they had to be made from just the remnants — just half of shot movies. There was a little bit of a problem.

06172010_IceTMeanGuns.jpgYou mentioned the pairing of Ice T and Christopher Lambert, who I know is in this film as well. How do you go about casting?

First, I find a story that I want, and then look around for what would be the most [interesting] on a limited budget because I’m always on a limited budget. Generally, it’s pretty risky because they’re not things that people normally would imagine. I did a film called “Brainsmasher,” where I had Teri Hatcher and Andrew Dice Clay — that was a weird sort of mix. [laughs]. I try not think too much about the commercial side of things, just who would make the most interesting casting combination. That’s why a lot of the casts for my movies have been pretty weird, pretty interesting.

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Mommie Dearest

Mommie Fearest

10 Moms Who Seriously Messed Up Their Kids

Spend Mother's Day with a 24-hour Mommie Dearest marathon Sunday, May 8th starting at 6AM on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Paramount/Everett Collection

We all love our moms. But sometimes, deep inside our therapist’s office, we have to admit that maybe they weren’t exactly perfect. Maybe they were a bit overbearing, or needed that cocktail a bit too much at the end the day. Thankfully, pop culture is rife with some seriously messed up moms who make our own mother’s foibles look like a cake walk. Check out a few of the worst moms from pop culture below, and then spend Mother’s Day watching an all-day Mommie Dearest marathon on IFC. It’s the best way to remind yourself that mom’s terrible tuna casserole isn’t the worst thing that could’ve happened to you.

10. Lucille Bluth, Arrested Development

Arrested Development
FOX

Whether it’s adopting a Korean child to look more charitable, or turning her youngest son Buster into the ultimate mama’s boy from hell, Lucille Bluth was never afraid to put her own needs ahead of her children’s. Her parenting strategy was to pit the kids against each other and hope one turned out needy enough to keep her martini topped off. At least she loved them all equally. Well, except for G.O.B. She never cared for G.O.B.


9. De’Londa Brice, The Wire

The Wire
HBO

De’Londa Brice was used to living a certain type of lifestyle, thanks to her baby daddy, Wee-Bey, and his hustler life. But when her fella got sent to the clinker, she needed to find a new man to take care of her. Thankfully, she didn’t have to look far. Namond, her teenage son, may have been a sheltered, spoiled kid who knew nothing of real life in the hood, but if De’Londa was going to keep that gravy train rolling, he would need to be her new cash cow. She basically forced him to start slinging drugs, all but assuring he would never escape the street game. And yet, somehow he did, leaving behind a mother who put her mink coat collection ahead of her parental duties.


8. Toni, Maron

While most parents try to give their children a better life, Marc Maron‘s mom (played by TV legend Sally Kellerman) seems more than happy to just give him a hard time. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree here, no matter how much Marc doesn’t want to admit it. A personification of Marc’s anxiety, guilt, and body issues, whenever Toni Maron rolls into town, chaos is sure to follow. (Watch some of Toni’s funniest parental moments above.)


7. Kate McCallister, Home Alone

Home Alone
20th Century FOX

Look, we get being a mom is a hard gig, especially during the holiday season. Relatives are in town. Gifts have to be bought. Everything has to be perfect. But let’s also admit that forgetting one of your kids at home, as you flit off on a family vacation, is more likely a case file from Child Services than a lighthearted family comedy. The fact that Kevin proves particularly adept at warding off vicious criminals doesn’t excuse the fact that nine times out of ten, that kid is going to end up dead as a doornail.


6. Mrs. Eleanor Shaw Iselin, The Manchurian Candidate

Manchurian Candidate
United Artists

There have been some cold-hearted moms in the history of pop culture, but few can top this Communist ice queen, determined to turn her son into a presidential assassin. Angela Lansbury, most famous for playing a loveable sleuth and a teapot, would earn an Oscar nomination for her turn in this classic thriller. Mamma Iselin proves that if you only have a kid to brainwash him in a desperate attempt to overthrow a government and further your own nefarious plans, you probably aren’t going to get a great gift come Mother’s Day.


5. Mac’s mom, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Macs Mom
FX

No one on It’s Always Sunny received particularly good parenting, but in a murderers’ row of awful families, Mac’s might just take the cake. For one, his father is an actual murderer. But it’s his emotionally removed mother, who’s more interested in smoking a cigarette and watching some TV than dealing with her needy son, that really defines him. Desperate for love, he showers her with affection, only to receive the occasional gruff grunt in response. No wonder Mac is so delusional when it comes to his religion or his sexuality — his role model for unconditional love is a bump on the couch he calls “Mom.”


4. Livia Soprano, The Sopranos

Livia Soprano
HBO

Another matriarch whose cold, calculating ways and emotionally withholding mothering drove her son to his highest highs and lowest lows, Livia Soprano was one mean S.O.B. She tried to have her own son killed, for heaven’s sake. If that isn’t an example of some seriously unorthodox parenting, what is? Livia was miserable, and made it her life’s mission to make sure everyone else in her family was too. She even drove her son, an emotionally removed mobster, to give therapy a try, which we have a hard time picturing Al Capone subjecting himself too.


3. Joan Crawford, Mommie Dearest

With the bright lights and glamour, who wouldn’t want to have a movie star mom? We’re guessing little Christina, who faced a lifetime of torment after being adopted by fading movie queen Joan Crawford. Whether it was making Christina give away her birthday gifts to charity after opening them, or beating her with a wire hanger after she made the unforgivable mistake of hanging her dress on it, Crawford approached mothering as an out of control publicity stunt.


2. Cartman’s mom, South Park

South Park
Comedy Central

At first blush, Cartman’s mom seems like a dream compared to most of the malicious mothers on this list. She’s as sweet as sugar, and loves her boy to death. But beneath the rosy surface, there are a few secrets that may help explain her foul mouthed boy. There’s the fact that she’s as racist and homophobic as they come. Or that she’s a “crack whore” who does German porn. Frankly, she’ll have sex with just about anyone from the town’s mayor to a cyborg Bill Cosby from the future. Oh, she also may be a hermaphrodite who might have impregnated herself to bring Cartman into the world. All in all, outside of her insane commitment to baking cookies, there’s a lot going on behind closed doors here that may have turned young Cartman into the raging mini monster he is.


1. Margaret White, Carrie

Carrie
United Artists

A religious warrior, Margaret was convinced the Devil was all around her. Why else would her husband leave her for another woman? Surely not because she only had sex with him twice, and wanted to kill herself afterwards. This woman had issues, not the least of which was her insistence that her teenage daughter was a witch, and needed to die. As prom night downers go, that has to rank right at the top. The fact that Piper Laurie, who memorably played Margaret, thought she was making a comedy for much of the shoot, only makes this messed up performance all the more terrifying.

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Fred Armisen drums

Drum Off

Fred Armisen Joins Will Ferrell For an Epic Drum Battle in This Week’s Funniest Videos

This week we're laughing at Fred on drums and Star Wars emojis.

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Photo Credit: Funny or Die

Friday is here at last, and you know what that means — time to laugh off the work week. From a epic celebrity drum battle to a Silicon Valley geek facing off against Captain Picard himself, here are five funny things from this week you need to watch.

1. Fred Armisen Joins the Will Ferrell and Chad Smith Drum-Off Rematch

A while back Will Ferrell faced off against his lookalike, drummer Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, in an epic drum battle on Fallon to prove who was the superior skin smasher. Well, the duo had a rematch at a live charity event, this time bringing in some famous drummers to help out. Joining them onstage is everyone from Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee to Fred Armisen, someone who knows his way around a drum kit. What’s next for Chad and Will? A remake of Twins, perhaps?


2. Maron gets the world’s worst roommate.

The two-episode season premiere of Maron — which you can watch right here on IFC.com and on the IFC app — found Marc landing in a rehab center where he rooms with a wannabe rapper named Trey who makes our favorite curmudgeon’s life even more miserable. Played in a perfect bit of casting by real life celebrity rapper Chet Hanks, Trey is already looking to be the breakout star of the new season. Check out a clip from the episode above, and be sure to catch new episodes of Maron Wednesdays at 9P on IFC.


3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Told by Emoji

Adobe After Effects gets a delightful workout in a Disney animated short that retells the story of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the form of cute emoji. Officially released by the Mouse House, the imagery is saccharine sweet, but the textspeak interpretation is pretty clever — like the Force-controlled battle between Rey and Ren over preference setting toggles.


4. Puberty Tips with Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone

Those of us who made it out of our preteen years intact can tell you that puberty is a nightmare. Between hormone surpluses and crippling self-doubt, it’s hard to pinpoint any laughable detail about the matter. Fortunately, comedians Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone tackle the subject head on in this educational short intended on guiding young adults into maturity. And as with most educational shorts, there’s a lot of misinformation. (For more Jo Firestone comedy, check out the Sound Graffiti sketch from the Comedy Crib series Video Frogs.)


5. Thomas Middleditch and Patrick Stewart play Star Trek “FMK”

In the grand tradition of Star Trek’s reinterpretation of chess, baseball, and Klingon mating habits, Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch and Captain Jean-Luc Picard himself Patrick Stewart play a round of F***, Marry, Kill in the style of the galaxy-hopping franchise. And as it will surely be decided by the rabid fan base, we’ll soon learn whether this qualifies as Trek canon.

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Let-go-and-let-pod-v2

GIF Giving

The Funniest Gifs From the Maron Season Premiere

Watch the Maron season premiere now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Last night, Marc Maron returned in all his haggard glory in the darkly hilarious season premiere of Maron. In case you’re not caught up, Marc has fallen into a downward spiral of drugs and addiction, having lost his house, his podcast, his cats, and the ability to say he doesn’t live in a storage unit. And only someone like Marc can make the situation laugh-out-loud funny.

Here are the 5 funniest GIFs from last night’s Maron premiere, which you can watch right now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

1. Dave Anthony, Professional Truth Teller.

Maron Not Okay


2. Storage locker etiquette is important.

Maron Storage Locker


3. We’re sure Chris Hardwick would love to have Marc back on Talking Dead.

Maron Dumb Show


4. We can’t unsee Dave in that apron.

Maron Shit Bucket


5. The first step is listening. Marc has a lot of steps to go.

Maron Shut Up

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