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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
Jan 7, 2015
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For: 'seedy, hardboiled cliches turned up to 11'
In the realm of comic book movies, director Robert Rodriguez's "Sin City" (2005) was a notable exception. Where most such movies think the idea is to make comic books look less like the printed page and more like the "real world," Rodriguez pivoted hard in the other direction, trying as much as possible...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 7, 2015
Some Velvet Morning (Labyrinth)
Director: Neil LaBute Language: English
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 1, 2015
Son of God: 'There is little to no poetic license taken here'
Just in time to be too late for Christmas is "Son of God," Hollywood's latest attempt to reboot the Jesus franchise. Director Christopher Spencer tries to give a more family-friendly version of the life of Jesus than the torture-porn brutality of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ."
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Jan 1, 2015
High Maintenance
Directors: Katja Blichfeld, Ben Sinclair
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 24, 2014
Broken
Director: Rufus Norris Language: English
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 24, 2014
Top 10 films of 2014: in search of originality
The longer you go on watching and writing about film, the more you start to feel like one of those jaded vampires in Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive." It's as though art's power to surprise and amaze you is nowhere near what it was when you were fresh to it. "Gone Girl" and "Interstellar" were...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 17, 2014
A Promise: 'It's hard to care about these doomed lovers'
'A Promise" seeks to be an intensely intimate portrait of repressed desire; a European "In The Mood For Love" set in pre-Great War Germany, with enough attentive butlers, elegant interiors and Sunday-finest promenades to make any Merchant-Ivory fan swoon.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 17, 2014
Venus in Fur: 'Polanski crams a lot into this uncomfortable comedy of mind games'
Roman Polanski, not content with having cast his actress wife Emmanuelle Seigner as a cruel and sultry dominatrix in "Bitter Moon" (1994), repeats the trick with "Venus in Fur." But if the first film was tragedy, this time it's farce. Rather like he did in the excellent "Carnage" (2011), Polanski is...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 17, 2014
The Moon in the Gutter (Mizo no Naka no Tsuki)
Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix Language: French (subtitled in English)
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 10, 2014
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies: 'initial exhilaration gives way to fatigue'
On the one hand, we have the fanboys, for whom "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" will be the "Best. Film. Ever.," as director Peter Jackson delivers a ginormously action-packed finale to his second Middle Earth trilogy. Kicking things off with a fire-breathing dragon razing the town of Lakewood,...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 10, 2014
Gone Girl: 'Misogynistic or a pointed satire of the illusions underlying some marriages?'
The Bible tells us that Elijah came unto the people and asked, "How long halt ye between two opinions?" David Fincher came forth and spake: "One hour and five minutes." Which is precisely how long he keeps us guessing in his new murder mystery "Gone Girl." Is Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) a disgruntled husband...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 10, 2014
Beautiful Noise
Director: Eric Green Language: English
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 3, 2014
Heaven is for Real: 'But why is it crazy-talk to say you've been there?'
The main point of "Heaven is for Real" is contained in its title, so you know where you're going with this one before you even buy the ticket. The film is based on the best-selling nonfiction book by Todd Burpo, a Nebraska pastor whose 4-year-old son, Colton, had a near-death experience during emergency...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 3, 2014
God's Not Dead: 'I understand what a conservative feels like when they watch a Michael Moore film'
I know punk's not dead, but I'm not so sure about God. The movie "God's Not Dead" — funded by the conservative Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom — is quite clear on the issue. It aims to convince believers and hell-bound atheists alike that God is alive and well, and even taking...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Dec 3, 2014
Homeland
Language: English
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Nov 26, 2014
Fury: 'Discovering lost humanity in the hell of a ruthless war'
In the climactic scene of "Fury," Brad Pitt, playing a grimly determined tank commander, is hanging on to a turret machine gun and mowing down wave upon wave of Nazi troopers, as he and his four-man crew take on an entire enemy battalion. Amidst the smoke and blood, I had a sudden flashback to William...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Nov 26, 2014
DamNation: 'The U.S. obsession with river dams and hydroelectric power'
is not a perfect film, but it's an important one. The film — narrated in a low-key way by co-director Ben Knight — tracks America's love affair with river dams and hydroelectric power — from its progressive, put-people-to-work origins under Roosevelt in the 1930s to its obsession with...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Nov 26, 2014
Inside Llewyn Davis
Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel CoenLanguage: English
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Nov 19, 2014
Interstellar: 'The isolation of the cosmos has rarely been so well illustrated'
If "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" was Steven Spielberg doing Stanley Kubrick, then "Interstellar" is Christopher Nolan doing Steven Spielberg doing Stanley Kubrick. It's no surprise to learn that Spielberg himself was attached to the "Interstellar" screenplay for years before it wound up in Nolan's hands,...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Nov 19, 2014
Short Term 12: 'an intense intimacy with the camera'
Director Destin Daniel Cretton's first job out of college was working at a halfway home for troubled teens and, rather like author Ken Kesey's stint working at a mental institution, he clearly gained some insight and a fistful of vivid characters from the experience. The resulting film, "Short Term 12,"...

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