Giovanni Fazio

Giovanni Fazio has been The Japan Times’ resident film crank since 1993. When not at the movies, he is busy recording and playing live with his band Makyo and running the independent electronica label Dakini Records.

For Giovanni Fazio's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

'La La Land': Sometimes we need a trip to la-la land

Feb 22, 2017

'La La Land': Sometimes we need a trip to la-la land

La-la land: the mental state of someone who is not aware of what is really happening, and a nickname for the American entertainment industry centered on Los Angeles. These two meanings bleed into each other in director Damien Chazelle’s multi-Oscar-nominated musical, “La La Land,” ...

'Weiner': America's walking, talking punch line

Feb 15, 2017

'Weiner': America's walking, talking punch line

If you feel like your cinematic diet has been a bit lacking in schadenfreude lately, then look no further than “Weiner,” an astounding internet-age documentary of hubris and disgrace, where no stupid behavior, once recorded, ever disappears. Who, you may ask, is Weiner? Well, ...

Punk: How cinema ignored something so loud

Feb 8, 2017

Punk: How cinema ignored something so loud

Once upon a time, Hollywood was good at co-opting and selling youth culture. When rock ‘n’ roll and biker gangs came along in the 1950s, the studios came up with generational totems like “Blackboard Jungle” and “The Wild Ones.” Beatlemania spawned “A Hard Days ...

'Green Room': Saulnier runs a red light on violence

Feb 8, 2017

'Green Room': Saulnier runs a red light on violence

The opening aerial shot of “Green Room” soars over the wavy green mass of an Oregon cornfield, before finding a swath through it where a van has swerved off the highway. Inside the van, so shabby you can practically smell the stale beer and ...

| Feb 8, 2017

'Do Not Resist': The consequences are high

Armored personnel carriers prowl the streets as bulky stormtroopers with automatic weapons and body armor batter down doors. Light aircraft and drones cruise the skies above, monitoring the movements to and from individual dwellings 24/7. Afghanistan? Nope, this is the troubling image of white-picket-fence ...

'Snowden': Making a hero of the 'robot nerd'

Jan 25, 2017

'Snowden': Making a hero of the 'robot nerd'

Just the other day, there was President Barack Obama on the telly, giving his farewell address to the American people. “Our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted,” he said gravely. “It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous ...

Cliff Martinez: composing through the chaos

Jan 11, 2017

Cliff Martinez: composing through the chaos

So much movie music sounds like just that: movie music. It’s rare these days to come across a score with character that really makes you sit up and listen. One musician who consistently manages to pull that off is punk drummer-turned-composer Cliff Martinez, whose ...

'The Neon Demon': Demonically arty — in a good way

Jan 11, 2017

'The Neon Demon': Demonically arty — in a good way

With “The Neon Demon,” director Nicolas Winding Refn seems to have come to the end of a trilogy that began with “Drive” (2011) and continued through “Only God Forgives” (2013). The idea seems to be to take genre-flick styles — car action, revenge and ...

| Jan 11, 2017

'The Knick': Still gnarlier than 'The Walking Dead'

A number of auteurs have dabbled in TV series, such as David Fincher with “House of Cards” and Martin Scorsese with “Vinyl”; but with “The Knick,” Steven Soderbergh becomes the first to hands-on direct every episode of a show from beginning to end. The ...

'Wiener-Dog': Todd Solondz is always painfully funny

Jan 4, 2017

'Wiener-Dog': Todd Solondz is always painfully funny

Trigger warning: I am about to discuss a Todd Solondz film. Back in the 1990s, Solondz was one of a pack of up-and-coming American indie directors, along with the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Richard Linklater and Todd Haynes. After getting hyped wildly ...