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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
Jul 11, 2001
From Here To Inanity
After you've sat through three hours of "Pearl Harbor" -- 90 minutes' worth of passionless romance, 45 minutes of incessant explosions and then a seemingly endless 45-minute coda -- while your butt is screaming to get off that seat and out the door, the final bomb drops. As the credits roll -- including...
CULTURE / Film
Jul 11, 2001
Sense, censors and sensuality
Romance Japanese title: Romance X Rating: * * * * Director: Catherine Breillat Running time: 99 minutes Language: FrenchNow showing Caroline Ducey in "Romance" As anyone who's seen the provocative poster for "Romance" (a woman's hand placed between her thighs, with an electric "X" branded...
CULTURE / Film
Jul 4, 2001
Aronofsky states his objectives
The last time Darren Aronofsky was in Tokyo in 1999, he was promoting his debut flick "Pi," which went on to become quite a cult hit. He also did a bit of shopping, picking up photo books by Araki and Hiromix that ended up influencing the look of his new film, "Requiem for a Dream."
CULTURE / Film
Jul 4, 2001
To shoot up, perchance to dream
Requiem for a Dream Rating: * * * * 1/2 Director: Darren Aronofsky Running time: 102 minutes Language: English Opens July 7 at Cine Saison in Shibuya An AP report the other day told of a Beijing teenager who jumped four stories to his death while attempting to sneak out to a local Internet cafe. His...
CULTURE / Film
Jun 27, 2001
Bending the rules of noir
The Monkey's Mask Rating: * * * 1/2 Japanese title: Poetry, SexDirector: Samantha Lang Running time: 93 minutes Language: EnglishShowing at Yebisu Garden Cinema Murder mysteries have been set in just about every locale possible, so why not the cloistered world of Australian poetry? That's what director...
CULTURE / Film
Jun 27, 2001
Lang enters the sophomore class
It comes as no surprise to hear that the most inspiring film in Samantha Lang's life was "Hiroshima, Mon Amour." "I saw it when I was 16 and must have watched it at least 10 times," says Lang. "I know that film shot by shot, line by line." Echoes of that film's free-spirited and independent heroine,...
CULTURE / Film
Jun 20, 2001
Things go creep in the night
The Gift Rating: * * * 1/2 Director: Sam Raimi Running time: 119 minutes Language: English Now showing at Tokyu Bunka Kaikan and other theaters After a career in directing splatterific horror and postmodern comic-book flicks ("Evil Dead," "Darkman," "The Quick and the Dead"), Sam Raimi seemed to have...
CULTURE / Film
Jun 20, 2001
Close encounters of the Gallic kind
New films by directors Jean-Jacques Beineix ("Diva," "Betty Blue") and Jacques Doillon ("Ponette") are just two of many good reasons to check out this year's Festival du Film Francais at Yokohama Pacifico. In addition to 19 new films, fans can enjoy a film-buff-friendly atmosphere, where the stars --...
CULTURE / Film
Jun 13, 2001
Hard-boiled blunderland and the end of the world
The Way of the Gun Rating: * * *Japanese title:Yukaihan Director:Christopher McQuarrie Running time: 119 minutes Language: EnglishNow showing at Marunouchi Piccadilly 2 and other theaters One elderly crime lord looks at his right-hand man and asks, "Do you believe in karma, Joe?" The tough old hit...
CULTURE / Film
Jun 6, 2001
Now you see her, but know you don't
Malena Rating: * * * * Director: Giuseppe Tornatore Running time: 92 minutes Language: Italian/EnglishOpens June 9 These days, we've become used to women in cinema meeting certain standards. They should be visually stunning, but they must also be brave, self-assertive, sometimes violent, smart and...
CULTURE / Film
Jun 6, 2001
It's deja vu all over again
The Mummy Returns Rating: * * * Japanese title: Hamunaputora 2Director: Stephen Sommers Running time: 129 minutes Language: EnglishNow showing at Shibutoh Cine Theater and other theaters One of the better summer flicks of recent years was 1999's "The Mummy," which was everything that this sort of...
CULTURE / Film
May 30, 2001
The ecstasy and the agony
Quills Rating: * * * * Director: Philip Kaufman Running time: 123 minutes Language: EnglishShowing at Hibiya Scalaza and other theaters The face of a beautiful woman appears in intense close-up, her fair skin offset by the clear blue sky behind her. The faint sighs of her soft, heavy breath are amplified...
CULTURE / Film
May 23, 2001
Women under the confluence
Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her Rating: * * * 1/2 Director: Rodrigo Garcia Running time: 110 minutes Language: EnglishNow playing as the late show at Bunkamura Le Cinema in Shibuya "Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her" is a sleek omnibus film, with five separate but loosely interwoven...
CULTURE / Film
May 16, 2001
Psycho killer, qu'est-ce que c'est?
Actor Christian Bale probably has more fans in Tokyo than at home in the U.K., given the splash that "Velvet Goldmine" had in this "visual-kei" obsessed town. Fans of the fey beautiful boy Bale played in that film, though, may be surprised to see him pumped up and wielding a mean chain saw in "American...
CULTURE / Film
May 16, 2001
Bluntness of yuppie satire dulled further on big screen
American Psycho Rating: * * Director: Mary Harron Running time: 102 minutes Language: EnglishNow showing Anybody who's been on an Internet mailing list or in a chat room for a while will surely know of the "Hitler Rule." What this rule establishes is that any discussion, thread or flame-war shall...
CULTURE / Music / HIGH NOTES
May 16, 2001
Belly up to the dance floor
While many hip urban types still seem to view belly-dancing as kitsch, they've probably never been lucky enough to experience the real thing. At its best, Oriental dance is a sublime fusion of body and rhythm, where the dancers allow the sound to ripple through their limbs with mesmerizing grace.
CULTURE / Film
May 9, 2001
Am I the girl you're looking for?
Suzhou River Rating: * * * *Japanese title: Futari no Ningyo Director: Lou Ye Running time: 115 minutes Language:Cantonese, with Japanese subtitlesNow showing "If I leave you someday, would you look for me forever? Your whole life?"
CULTURE / Film
May 2, 2001
Artcore
There's a scene in "Boogie Nights" in which porno director Jack Horner, played by Burt Reynolds, spells out his life dream: to make a "real movie" with hardcore action, something with a story that would make people want to stay beyond the money shot to find out how it ends.
CULTURE / Film
May 2, 2001
Generation X
While this month may mark artcore's high tide on Tokyo screens, the wave has been building over the past few years. Here's a quick review of some of the more controversial and boundary-pushing films to have opened here within the past six months alone:
CULTURE / Film
Apr 25, 2001
Hidden Gems
'Straight-to-video" is a term that carries a stigma, and deservedly so. So much of what emerges without theatrical release is either slasher, sleaze or sly made-for-TV imitations of a bigger-budgeted film (e.g., "Asteroid," released just prior to "Armageddon"). But here in Japan there is a surprisingly...

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