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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
Mar 3, 2004
Once upon a time he made a good film
Once upon a time in Mexico Rating: * * (out of 5) Director: Robert Rodriguez Running time: 101 minutes Language: English Opens March 6 [See Japan Times movie listings] Robert Rodriguez is one of those directors who shot to fame in the early '90s, a fabled time when the words "independent...
CULTURE / Film
Feb 25, 2004
'Our Town' put through the wringer
Dogville Rating: * * * (out of 5) Director: Lars von Trier Running time: 179 minutes Language: English Currently showing [See Japan Times movie listings] There are directors I love, directors I hate, and then there's Lars von Trier, the guy who's going to give me bipolar disorder. Go...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 18, 2004
A bombardment of images leaves riddles in the rubble
Naqoyqatsi Rating: * * * * 1/2 (out of 5) Director: Godfrey Reggio Running time: 89 minutes Language: English Currently showing [See Japan Times movie listings] While all the attention has focused on "The Matrix" and "The Lord of the Rings," another trilogy, 20 years in the making, has...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 11, 2004
'It's 1918 for everyone'
Dutch-born Menno Meyjes has had a prosperous career working as a screenwriter under the wing of Steven Spielberg, penning the Oscar-nominated "The Color Purple," "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" and "Empire of the Sun." So it's surprising to see Meyjes make his directorial debut with a script on...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 11, 2004
Back to Futurists and fascists
Max Rating: * * * * 1/2 (out of 5) Japanese title: Adolf no Gashu Director: Menno Meyjes Running time: 108 minutes Language: English Currently showing [See Japan Times movie listings] With his debut feature, "Max," director Menno Meyjes takes us back to the Germany of 1918, in the immediate...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 4, 2004
Under the skin of Gollum
Many have remarked that the most memorable performance in the "Lord of the Rings" films is given by a computer-generated character, Gollum. But let's not forget the man behind the critter, British screen and stage actor Andy Serkis, seen in films like Mike Leigh's "Topsy Turvy" and Michael Winterbottom's...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 4, 2004
We wantsss it, we needsss it!
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Rating: * * * * (out of 5) Director: Peter Jackson Running time: 203 minutes Language: English Opens Feb. 14 [See Japan Times movie listings] It's February, so we must be in Middle Earth. The annual magical mystery tour through Tolkien's...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 28, 2004
Good win in the gambling genre
The Good Thief Rating: * * * 1/2 (out of 5) Director: Neil Jordan Running time: 104 minutes Language: English Opens Jan. 31 [See Japan Times movie listings] Gambler flicks can be a pretty predictable lot, and it's all too easy to adhere to formula and end up with an entirely forgettable...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 21, 2004
Killing us softly with their songs
A Mighty Wind Rating: * * * * (out of 5) Japanese title: Minna no Uta Director: Christopher Guest Running time: 92 minutes Language: English Opens Jan. 31 [See Japan Times movie listings] Christopher Guest is gradually carving out a niche for himself as the master of the "mockumentary,"...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 14, 2004
Taking responsibility pays off
25th Hour Rating: * * * 1/2 (out of 5) Director: Spike Lee Running time: 136 minutes Language: English Opens Jan. 24 [See Japan Times movie listings] Think of Spike Lee and you'll probably think of a film he made in his fertile period of 1988-1992: "Do The Right Thing," "Jungle Fever,"...
CULTURE / Music
Oct 12, 2003
A symphony of the senses
When Godfrey Reggio's "Koyaanisqatsi" first appeared in 1983, it was instantly hailed as a revolutionary film. Two decades on, it remains so. With the exception of 1994's "Baraka," by "Koyaanisqatsi" cinematographer Ron Fricke, virtually no other filmmaker has tapped the potential it opened up.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music / HIGH NOTES
Jun 11, 2003
Ott: "Blumenkraft"
'Blumenkraft" is the debut album from mysterious mix maestro Ott, but to call it a "debut" is kind of like calling slugger Hideki Matsui a "rookie." Ott has spent the last 20 years behind the mixing desk as a producer and recording engineer with artists such as Sinead O'Connor, Brian Eno and The Orb....
CULTURE / Music / HIGH NOTES
Sep 18, 2002
Azam Ali: "Portals of Grace"; Natacha Atlas: "Foretold in the Language of Dreams"
The most fascinating musical hybrids these days tend to come from artists who are themselves cultural crossbreeds. They don't plan these new sounds, they arise organically, from within.
CULTURE / Music
Aug 21, 2002
Beyond trance: Juno's sonic odyssey
The passing fancies and capricious changes in taste that mark electronic dance music make it very hard for most musicians to sustain a career. Buck the trends, and you'll never get noticed; settle into the style du jour, and you may as well put a "sell-by" date on your albums.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music / HIGH NOTES
Jun 26, 2002
DJ Cheb-i-Sabbah: 'Krishna Lila'
The "Asian Underground" wave of neo-Indian sounds has, for the most part, rarely betrayed much knowledge of its roots. With the exceptions of Talvin Singh and Karsh Kale, much of this music has been little more than drum 'n' bass with an ethnic spin, all hopelessly out-of-tune tabla samples and rigidly...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music / HIGH NOTES
Jun 19, 2002
Rhythm Love: 'The Best of Turntables on the Hudson'
We live in an age of increasingly diverse yet compartmentalized forms of dance music. The original "one" of disco, has fractalized into a "many," yet rare are the labels or parties that allow the genres to mingle. Funky breakbeats rarely intrude into the sets of clinically mixed trance, while the feel-good,...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
May 8, 2002
Deep in the Laswell mix
Bill Laswell may be best-known as a bassist and producer, but some of his best work of recent years has been on the mixing desk, doing epic, album-length "mix translations" of artists such as Bob Marley, Miles Davis and Carlos Santana. His latest venture in this field is "Shy Angels," a reconstruction...
COMMUNITY
Mar 10, 2002
The state of trance
Trance: It has seeped deep into this city's ambience. Aside from the clubs, where you'll likely find four or five trance events every weekend, and the massive summertime outdoor festivals, it's always in the air, and unmistakable. Wander into any Roppongi watering hole or strip club; pop into any funky...
CULTURE / Music / HIGH NOTES
Feb 27, 2002
Angelo Badalamenti: 'Mulholland Drive'
David Lynch has always been one of cinema's most astute directors when it comes to sound. Whether its recycling pop songs in an entirely new context ("Blue Velvet") or pure industrial ambience (the radiator hiss from "Eraserhead"), Lynch has always used the soundtrack deliberately to add another dimension...
CULTURE / Film
Dec 26, 2001
Simply, the best
This was a year in which the most memorable screen image belonged to reality, not cinema. Indeed, as many have noted, the spectacle of airline jets ramming into the World Trade Center towers was all too reminiscent of a Hollywood blockbuster's money shot -- and that may have been the point. Terrorists...

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