JAZZ G MEN (JAZZ JIJI MEN). Viewed on Streaming. Subtitles = seven (7) stars; cinematography = seven (7) stars; digital transfer = five (5) stars; score = four (4) stars. Director Yui Miyatake (who is also credited as script writer and editor) adds her contribution to the ever popular "impossible dream" (or "ganbare") sub-genre of modern Japanese films. This time around the plot involves creating a professional-quality jazz band in three months using mostly inexperienced (or zero experienced) small-town boosters. A recently retired school music teacher is recruited by the local chamber of commerce (who believes an amateur jazz band will attract more business) to create a miracle using indigenous ingredients ranging from a retiree fixated on growing cucumbers to a young keyboard artist/composer seeking career advancement (the film's title is misleading, since women make up one-third of the band which spans three generations). Miyatake ensures there are no surprises in her screen play. Pending outcomes are telegraphed well in advance (except maybe for one involving a trombone) including the Director's bitter-sweet ending. Acting is okay but tends to be a bit on the hammy side. Cinematography (wide-screen, color)/lighting are good. Dialog subtitles are just about right. Signs/ posters are not translated. Digital transfer suffers from employing an antiquated format that causes patterns on costumes to appear wavy and end credits to be all but unreadable. "Score" consists of a few themes repeated ad nausea. The jazz band on the sound track sounds like more musicians were used than shown on screen. A contrived, modestly-mounted, feel-good film. WILLIAM FLANIGAN, PhD.
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