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:
Jun 28, 2017
'Theory of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents': Alternative music's anti-stars make for fascinating documentary subjects
Some 45 years after their first appearance on a San Francisco stage, The Residents remain a band that practically defines the term "cult," and their freak-show, cartoon-surrealist approach continues to attract a healthy fan base (as evidenced by some sold-out shows at Tokyo's Blue Note back in March).
May 17, 2017
With "Arrival," director Denis Villeneuve takes a very familiar alien invasion scenario and tries to put a new twist on it. While everyone from H. G. Wells in "War of the Worlds" to Roland Emmerich in "Independence Day" has envisioned a swarm of spacecraft attacking us, Villeneuve imagines what would happen if the aliens landed and just chilled. How would humanity respond? With fear, suspicion and weapons? Or with an attempt at communication and understanding?
Apr 26, 2017
Apr 19, 2017
With "Deepwater Horizon," Hollywood attempts the difficult maneuver of having its cake and eating it too. It's certainly possible to make a rabble-rousing liberal issue movie, and it's even easier to make any sort of film that involves lots of CGI explosions, but it's rare that a filmmaker gets the chance to do both in the same movie.
Apr 5, 2017
Mar 29, 2017
Matt Ross is probably best known for his role in the HBO comedy series "Silicon Valley," where he plays the arrogant CEO Gavin Belson of Google-like IT giant Hooli. Belson is a man wired deep into the matrix, for whom nothing matters more than massive functionality in lossless cloud-based compression, and keeping the shareholders happy.
Mar 29, 2017
Mar 22, 2017
Mar 15, 2017
Everywhere you look these days, it feels like it's just Trump, Trump and even more Trump. It's worth taking a moment to recall that 23 years ago many people were just as sick of O.J. Simpson when the amiable American football star-turned-TV/movie celebrity became the main suspect in the brutal murder of his estranged wife, Nicole, and the subsequent trial/media circus marked the beginning of the age of binge coverage.
Mar 8, 2017
With "Homo Sapiens", director Nikolaus Geyrhalter paints a haunting dystopian vision of civilization minus its creators. This unique documentary consists of nothing but steady, perfectly framed wide-shots of abandoned structures and wastelands. Imagine Wes Anderson doing location shots for "The Walking Dead" and you'll be getting warm.
Mar 1, 2017
Even a casual film buff knows that "Bicycle Thieves," the 1948 black-and-white film by Vittorio De Sica, is regarded as one of The Great Films of All Time. It's the best-known film by far of Italian cinema's postwar neorealist movement, but those who wish to delve deeper into that rich vein can binge this month at Yebisu Garden Cinema, with its Cinema Neo Classico Italia showcase.
Feb 22, 2017
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," which is about a state of mind as much as it is a place.
Feb 15, 2017
Feb 8, 2017
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 Night" and "Yellow Submarine," while the hippies flocked to films like "The Graduate" and "Easy Rider." Disco fueled "Saturday Night Fever" and hip-hop "Boyz n the Hood."
Feb 8, 2017
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 B.O., four members of a rough-living punk band, The Ain't Rights, slowly awake to find that their driver had fallen asleep at the wheel, a common hazard on the overnight slog from one gig to the next. Out of money and gas, the day's first task is trekking to the nearest mall's parking lot and siphoning somebody's tank.
Feb 8, 2017
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 America presented in director Craig Atkinson's documentary "Do Not Resist," where every small town needs an IED-proof armored vehicle.
Jan 25, 2017
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 guardians of our democracy. ... I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change, but in yours."
Jan 11, 2017
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 horror — and unravel them to the point where they become pure sensation, almost abstractions.
Jan 11, 2017
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 result is a two-season arc of absolutely gripping television, now available on Hulu.jp.
Sponsored contents planned and edited by JT Media Enterprise Division.