Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Midnight Diner Review: Comfort Food For The Soul

Tony Ka Fai Leung	...	Uncle Tony Yo-ning Yang	Tony Yo-ning Yang	...	Kai Yuan Tao Liu	Tao Liu	...	Ming Yue Yibai Zhang	Yibai Zhang	...	Boxing Coach Elaine Jin	Elaine Jin	...	Aunt Lian Kim Scar	Kim Scar	...	Wang Hu Joyce Cheng	Joyce Cheng	...	Xiao Mei Charles 'Blackie' Chen	Charles 'Blackie' Chen	...	Brother Tai Stanley Sui-Fan Fung	Stanley Sui-Fan Fung	...	Uncle Zhong Li Zhang	Li Zhang	...	Along Connor Leong	Connor Leong	...	Qiu Fan (as Liang Jingkang) Yuchen Du	Yuchen Du	...	An An Jingwen Wang	Jingwen Wang	...	Qin Qin Junyan Jiao	Junyan Jiao	...	Xiao Xue Chao Deng	Chao Deng	...	Ashin Vision Wei	Vision Wei	...	Tang Song Yishang Zhang	Yishang Zhang	...	Si Si

Release date: August 17, 2021 (Blu-Ray and Digital)
Running time: 103 minutes
Director: Tony Leung Ka-Fai 
Starring: Tony Leung Ka-Fai (Once Upon a Time in Hong Kong), Deng Chao (Shadow), Eddie Peng (Operation Mekong), and Vision Wei (Lost in White)

A small, counter-only restaurant, open daily from midnight to 7, is lovingly helmed by its mysterious owner and chef, a quiet enigma who provides no menu yet can make any dish the customer desires. Year after year, people flock from far and wide to the mysterious Midnight Diner to share their stories, savor delicious home cooking, and finally, to leave refreshed, feeling equally full and ready for their next adventure.

Eddie Peng	...	Fitting Coach Ping Hao	Ping Hao	...	Mr. Jin Wenli Jiang	Wenli Jiang	...	Ms. Jin Music by  Seikou Nagaoka	 Greg Yu	Cinematography by  Chor Keung Chan	Film Editing by  Chi-Leung Kwong	 Hua Tang	Second Unit Director or Assistant Director  LeeAnne Yu	...	second assistant directorMusic Department  Mark Hu	...	music editor Benjamin Lhotellier	...	music scoring mixer
Midnight Diner is the Chinese theatrical remake of the Japanese manga.  You have a mysterious chef making great food for the various customers in the diner; some new faces, some old hats, but all of them with an interesting story behind them.  The movie is less a film about the diner itself and more about the various stories of the patrons.  These stories are narrated by the mysterious chef but go into each of the patrons backstories and current dilemmas.  It almost progresses like a series, where each patron gets a portion of the film devoted to themselves, but with an overarching story throughout it.  The segments are hit or miss, with some lovely scenarios and some fun but less heart wrenching ones.  But just like the tastes of the patrons in this film, the stories have a variety to them that lets you see all sorts of people and their backgrounds.

And if you are interested in different foods, Midnight Diner will be a foodies dream.  The movie has lots of preparation shots of a variety of dishes, with some very delicious food being made for this quirky set of characters.  If you don't have a favorite dish by the end of the movie, you weren't paying attention to it.  But although Midnight Diner is heartfelt movie comfort food, the stories themselves are hit or miss.  When they hit, they were fun to watch and I liked meeting the patrons.  When they missed, they just were not that interesting or had some issues with them.  And the effects in these stories, like the stories themselves, were a little hit or miss too.  Sometimes they were noticeable but other times the film just did a great job.  But overall it is tough to leave this diner not fulfilled, as the variety of the stories and the patrons will ensure that you find something that you like.  

The story of the film, though, progresses like a clips show.  There are some jumps in the timeline that make it tough to follow, as the mysterious chef recounts some old patrons.  And despite the generally segmented nature of the patron's stories, the film does bring a lot of the ideas and characters together in the end.   

Midnight Diner is movie comfort food and a foodie's dream, with wholesome stories to accompany a message of life, love, and good food. 

Rent it.

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Midnight Diner is available on Digital and Blu-ray on August 17, 2021.  

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