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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 18, 2015
A long, painful look into the whirlpools of World War II
The 1985 Holocaust documentary "Shoah," directed by Claude Lanzmann — screening until Mar. 6 at Tokyo's Theatre Image Forum — feels more like evidence than cinema. At 9½ hours, and filled with straight-to-the-camera testimony from concentration camp survivors, Nazi guards and many other...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 18, 2015
Fifty Shades of Grey: 'The real perversion here is how business has infected even matters of the heart'
The lyrics to the Gang of Four song "Contract" (from their seminal post-punk album "Entertainment!"), set to brittle guitar chords and thrashing drums, explored the distance between the bedroom and the boardroom. Singer Jon King addressed a lover who "dreamed of scenes / like you read of in magazines,"...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 18, 2015
Predestination: 'trippy tale of transgender time travel'
A guy walks into a bar . . . no, seriously, that is the premise for the new sci-fi film "Predestination," a rather faithful adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein's 1960 short story "All You Zombies."
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 18, 2015
Fifty Shades: Uncovered
Director: Sonia Anderson Language: English
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 11, 2015
American Sniper: 'a refusal to deal with the complexity of war'
Just about every Iraq war movie to date has bombed at the box office, and there's a reason for that: Like the war itself, most of those movies were bummers. Even "The Hurt Locker," which did well at the Oscars, had a lukewarm reception at the box office. But along comes director Clint Eastwood with "American...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 11, 2015
Blue Ruin: 'misguided acts of vengeance'
"Blue Ruin" is an indie thriller that plays the "Blood Simple" card pretty hard: Like the Coen brothers' debut, it tries to make up for what it lacks in budget by providing cool and brutal suspense, with a dose of black humor. It mostly succeeds in that, but lacks the sharp characterizations and dialogue...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 11, 2015
Betty Blue
Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix Language: English
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 4, 2015
Welcome to New York: 'Abel Ferrara ignores a rich vein of intrigue and rushes to judgement'
The career of Abel Ferrara is a bit of an enigma. As a director who started with gnarly exploitation flicks before moving into more philosophical tales of sin and redemption, Ferrara is barely a presence in the U.S. outside his native New York City, and he hasn't had a hit with either critics or the...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 4, 2015
20,000 Days on Earth: 'Nick Cave beside a fireplace talking about his childhood'
Once upon a time — say, around 1982, when he was strung out on heroin and singing as though a Ridley Scott-style alien had just burst through his chest — it was hard to imagine Nick Cave sitting in front of a fireplace talking quietly about his childhood with a chin-stroking interviewer. Like Iggy...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Feb 4, 2015
Escape from Tomorrow
Director: Randy Moore Language: English
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 28, 2015
Say goodnight to the bad guy: The cost of making enemies in the age of globalized cinema
In the summer of 2010, Hollywood studio MGM had the film "Red Dawn" in the bag and ready for release. There was one little problem, though: The movie — a remake of the 1984 film of the same name, a Cold War paranoid-fantasy about a Soviet invasion of America — had rebooted itself by imagining a more...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 28, 2015
Big Eyes: 'The devil's pact between creativity and marketing'
Tim Burton's "Big Eyes," a portrait of real-life artists Margaret and Walter Keane, who specialized in creepy but cute paintings of saucer-eyed children and kittens, marks the first time Burton has returned to the real world since "Ed Wood" (1994). Yet while "Big Eyes" is as much an ode to kitsch as...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 28, 2015
Neighbors: 'Several nights of blaring music and drug-fueled madness'
There are no plans for the release of "The Interview" in Japan anytime soon, but fans of Seth Rogen who are looking for a fix in the interim could do worse than checking out "Neighbors," a comedy that feels like a mash-up of two old John Belushi films: "National Lampoon's Animal House" (1978) and "Neighbors"...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 28, 2015
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Japan title: Saru no Wakusei: Shinseki — Rising)
Director: Matt Reeves Language: English
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 21, 2015
What We Do in the Shadows: 'straight-to-camera confessionals intercut with savage bouts of feasting on human blood'
Shortly after the first weekend that box-office returns came in for "Twilight," a swarm of studio suits rushed to their BlackBerrys and proceeded to greenlight every vampire-related script they could find buried under the cobwebs. Six years on, we've been deluged by more undead movies and TV series that...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 21, 2015
David Bowie is Happening Now: 'a strange hybrid'
"David Bowie Is Happening Now" is a strange hybrid. Rather than focusing on Bowie himself, it documents an exhibition held at London's Victoria and Albert Museum in 2013 of artifacts from the singer's long and varied career. The exhibition itself was a huge success — immersive and imaginatively presented...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 21, 2015
A Single Shot (Japan title: Tenraku no Judan: Hitsuji)
Director: David M. Rosenthal Language: English
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 14, 2015
Jimmy. P: 'not one actual Native American could be found to play the lead role?'
Psychotherapy is a damn hard thing to build a two-hour film around. Static and talky by nature, the traditional Freudian "talking cure" tends to work best when there's some tension and antagonism in the relationship between doctor and patient, as in "Girl, Interrupted" or "Good Will Hunting." Even "A...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 14, 2015
National Gallery: 'a barrage of chatter, both fascinating and facile, about London's noted art museum'
The stock phrase used to describe Frederick Wiseman documentaries is that they're about "institutions" — such as the Paris Ballet ("La Danse") or a Californian university ("At Berkeley") — but at this point, Wiseman himself has become something of an institution. He has been filming in his...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 14, 2015
Third Person
Director: Paul Haggis Language: English, Italian

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