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 Giovanni Fazio

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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.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 16, 2007
'Dreamgirls'
The life of a wedding DJ is not easy, as I learned in my short and inglorious stab at that profession some years ago. It is not easy to please at the same time the boomer wanting The Eagles, the grandma wanting Glen Miller, and the sullen teen demanding Ozzie, especially when they're all drunk. But there...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 9, 2007
'My Super Ex-Girlfriend'
People tend to talk about "chick flicks" a lot, you know, the kind of film that stars Anne Hathaway or Holly Hunter and has people stressing a lot about their relationships. There's an assumption that certain sort of films will only play to female audiences, but you never hear about the flip side of...
CULTURE / Film
Feb 2, 2007
Rookie director digs for the truth
"The Road To Guantanamo" may be the first feature-length film for Mat Whitecross as a director, but his collaborations with Michael Winterbottom stretch back over several years. Whitecross worked as assistant director and editor on Winterbottom films like "In This World," "Nine Songs" and "Code 46."...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 2, 2007
'The Road to Guantanamo'
There's been a lot written in the press about the extralegal prison the American military has been running in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There, people the Bush administration has defined as "enemy combatants" are detained indefinitely, without the protection of the Geneva Conventions or any sort of rights...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 26, 2007
'An Inconvenient Truth'
Is the world getting warmer? All sorts of anecdotal and empirical evidence, as well as what our own senses tell us, would suggest "yes." The most advanced climatological research comes up with the same answer, and places the blame primarily with the burning of fossil fuels. Against this stand a few skeptics...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 26, 2007
The ace auteur and the new De Niro
"The Departed" marks the third collaboration between Hollywood A-list actor Leonardo DiCaprio and America's reigning auteur, director Martin Scorsese.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 19, 2007
'The Departed'
When the Hong Kong thriller "Infernal Affairs" came out in 2002, it was apparent at a glance that the filmmakers had a thing for Michael Mann, and his film "Heat" in particular. All sleek, cool, blue-tinged urban noir imagery and equally cold, controlled performances, "Infernal Affairs" was a tight exercise...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 12, 2007
'Brothers of the Head'
There's a scene near the end of the punk-rock documentary "D.O.A." where The Sex Pistols are playing a country and western ballroom in San Antonio, near the end of their ill-fated 1978 tour. The band hold the stage penned in by a baying mob, barely able to make it through their songs as the crowd pelts...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 12, 2007
Twinned through film
Directors Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe are best-known for their document of the great Terry Gilliam film that never was, "Lost In La Mancha." You'd think that making "Lost" -- which shows the demise of Gilliam's dream project -- would be enough to discourage anyone from making a feature film, but apparently...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 5, 2007
'Les amants reguliers'
There's a conversation I frequently fall into with musicians I know; one that assumes there is a clear polarity between art and commerce. On the one side is "selling out," making art that is closer to product, often with corporate backing, and designed to meet a given market's needs. (Think Ayumi Hamasaki)....
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Nov 17, 2006
FILMeX shows size doesn't matter
Tokyo FILMeX enters its seventh year as the smaller, friendlier, artier alternative to the Tokyo International Film Festival.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Nov 10, 2006
'Sovereignty has to be taken'
Cillian Murphy certainly has romantic-lead looks, but his filmography reveals an actor more committed to a diverse career. Many viewers will recall his portrayal of the twisted Scarecrow character in "Batman Begins," but he also played a determined survivor in Danny Boyle's "28 Days Later" and a transvestite...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Sep 8, 2006
A beautiful bird burns bright
...
CULTURE / Music
Aug 11, 2006
Pitch Black "Halfway From Ape To Angel"
Some musical recipes are so obvious that you can't help wonder why no one hadn't thought of them earlier. Take New Zealand's Pitch Black, an electronic outfit who came up with the idea of fusing the endless echoes of dub with the propulsive, four-to-the-floor rhythms of trance. Equal parts cyber-Jamaican...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jul 6, 2006
Through the looking glass with Gilliam
At age 64, Terry Gilliam continues to confound. "Tideland," his latest and perhaps most challenging film, was an excursion into low-budget and fast shooting for the director, who is known for tortuous production difficulties. (See the documentary "Lost in La Mancha," about his failed attempt to shoot...
CULTURE / Music
Jun 30, 2006
Helios "Eingya"
Sometimes the only thing that gets you through when plans don't work out is an album with a particular understanding of melancholy. Just look at the cover of the new album by Helios, a manga-esque drawing of two-lovers' hands entwined as they stand before a cloud-covered sea, and you'll be certain, yes,...
CULTURE / Music
May 19, 2006
Mercan Dede "Nefes"
Istanbul's Doublemoon label has staked out a rep as one of the most progressive world-music labels. Their best-selling artist is also their most unique: Mercan Dede, a producer/DJ/musician who, like Talvin Singh, is equally comfortable in both traditional and modern contexts, usually at the same time....
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
May 5, 2006
The man in gray
Fatih Akin, at 33, made several good films before "Head On," but it was this more intense concoction that put him on the map, winning the top prize at 2004's Berlin Film Festival.
CULTURE / Music
May 5, 2006
Badawi "Safe"
NYC's Badawi first appeared in the mid-'90s, dropping two albums of Middle-Eastern-tinged dub that effortlessly mixed hand-stroked percussion with pounding programmed rhythms that possessed a distinctly Jamaican skank. Whether he's doing movie soundtracks or staging an original experimental opera, Raz...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Apr 21, 2006
The silly world of SpongeBob
OK, class, quiz time: Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? No takers? OK, here's a hint: Absorbent and yellow and porous is he!

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