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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.
CULTURE / Film
Mar 10, 2006
He molded a classic
At age 48, Nick Park sits at the top of his field. When it comes to 3D animation, only Tim Burton ("Corpse Bride") and Henry Selick ("James and the Giant Peach") can rival him. Working out of the Aardman Animation studios in Bristol, the soft-spoken, self-effacing clay boffin from Lancashire has garnered...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Mar 2, 2006
Mortensen, Bello jump into the deep end
Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello, co-stars of "A History of Violence," show up for an interview at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo looking like, well, if not an item, close enough friends that they could be mistaken for one. (They even finish each other's sentences.)
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 10, 2006
The man who couldn't quit
With "Hoop Dreams" having just been inducted into The National Film Registry (of the Library of Congress), Steve James is clearly one of America's most respected documentarians. And with good reason: The 43-year-old, Virginia-born filmmaker brings a sensitivity and sustained focus to his films that few...
CULTURE / Film
Feb 2, 2006
Bana steps up to the plate
Director Steven Spielberg has avoided the usual press tour for his new film, "Munich," and who can blame him? The film speaks for itself, and anything he said could have pinned him down fatally when this film requires a certain ambiguity to work. And you can imagine the questions he would have gotten:...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 23, 2005
Echoes of Egoyan's mind
With "Where the Truth Lies," his 10th film, Canada's leading art-house director Atom Egoyan had reason to believe this would be his crossover hit. With Hollywood stars in his cast and a script based on a gleefully seedy novel by Rupert Holmes (once a singer who scored big with "The Pina Colada Song"),...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 8, 2005
Inside the belly of the beast
Jennifer Abbott's entire career as a filmmaker and editor has been involved with challenging people's perceptions. Her first documentary, "A Cow at My Table," was on the horrors of factory farming, and Abbott met her co-director Mark Achbar while working as an editor on his documentary on lesbian marriages...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Oct 27, 2005
The man in black
For a man whose entire cinematic career has been devoted to portraying maladjusted types who don't fit in, Tim Burton is certainly comfortable holding a microphone in front of a crowd. Then again, that is the deal with artists: turn your oddities and idiosyncrasies into art and watch your childhood rejection...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Oct 13, 2005
When revolution came to the big screen
1969 was a watershed year for American cinema, with two films in particular heralding significant changes to the movie-making industry. One was "Midnight Cowboy," the story of a hustler and a junkie on the streets of New York City, starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman; this became the first X-rated...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
May 15, 2005
Composing with an eye on the big picture
The Aichi Expo, with its theme on "Nature's Wisdom" and its pavilions packed with technological wonders, obviously sees no irony in its situation. This contradiction may be highlighted, however, when composer Philip Glass brings his ensemble to perform the music of "Koyaanisqatsi." Directed by Godfrey...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
May 11, 2005
Ojos de Brujo fueled by flamenco and much more
Monday is not the best night for going wild and dancing till your legs are about to fall off, but as they say here, "sho ga nai," for that's exactly what you'll have to do on May 30, when Barcelona's Ojos de Brujo hit Shibuya's Duo Music Exchange for their first-ever Japan show.
CULTURE / Music
Apr 17, 2005
Niyaz: "Niyaz"
The debut album by Niyaz is a delicious, intoxicating collection of songs, with a sound so fresh that it's impossible to reduce it to a particular genre. The band describes their sound as "21st-century folk music," and that's a start, but don't let that fool you: The rolling thunder of frame drums and...
CULTURE / Film
Dec 29, 2004
In the atrophied heart of America
Super Size Me Rating: * * * * 1/2 (out of 5) Director: Morgan Spurlock Running time: 96 minutes Language: English Currently showing [See Japan Times movie listings] Buffalo Soldiers Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 5) Director: Gregor Jordan Running time: 98 minutes Language: English Currently...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 29, 2004
Get 'em fresh
This seemed like an off year for cinema. How bad was it? Well, I write a column for a women's monthly, and some months I couldn't even find one movie to recommend wholeheartedly. As usual, there were plenty of in-your-face junk flicks to wade through, but things like "Van Helsing" or "Catwoman" were...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 22, 2004
Can't hold down a good stereotype
Kiss of Life Rating: * * * * (out of 5) Director: Emily Young Running time: 86 minutes Language: English Currently showing [See Japan Times movie listings] Nathalie ... Rating: * * * 1/2 (out of 5) Director: Anne Fontaine Running time: 105 minutes Language: French Currently...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 15, 2004
Dumb and dumber: revenge of the idiots
Jackass -- The Moive Rating: * * * (out of 5) Director: Jack Tremaine Running time: 88 minutes Language: English Currently showing [See Japan Times movie listings] Bad Santa Rating: * * (out of 5) Director: Terry Zwigoff Running time: 91 minutes Language: English Opens...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 8, 2004
Captain goes down with the ship
Sky Captain and the World of Tommorrow Rating: * * (out of 5) Director: Kerry Conran Running time: 107 minutes Language: English Currently showing [See Japan Times movie listings] "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" is yet another of those gazillion-dollar event flicks that's 90...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 1, 2004
The freaks that made good
End of the Century Rating: * * * * (out of 5) Director: Michael Gramaglia Running time: 108 minutes Language: English Currently showing [See Japan Times movie listings] My first introduction to The Ramones came, fittingly enough for a film critic, in a cinema . . . but, hey, they were...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Sep 29, 2004
Death or glory? Not another jingoistic story
The Alamo Rating: * * * (out of 5) Director: John Lee Hancock Running time: 137 minutes Language: English Currently showing [See Japan Times movie listings] The battle of the Alamo, like Bunker Hill or the Battle of the Bulge, remains one of America's most sacred martial myths, which...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Sep 26, 2004
Flying Rhythms
Flying Rhythms, in keeping with the current taste in progressive minimalism, is a band stripped down to the core. You've got drums, percussion and . . . well, that's pretty much it, except for Dry & Heavy/Little Tempo member Naoyuki Uchida dubbing things out on the mixing desk. As evidenced in tracks...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Sep 22, 2004
Getting under the skin of a serial killer
After "Hannibal" et al., seeing another serial killer flick was about as pleasant a prospect as being buried alive. It was a nice surprise, then, to find that director Patty Jenkins had made an intelligent, genre-defying film grounded in reality. Jenkins, who also wrote the screenplay, has been riding...

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