This Week In Trailers: Midnight Diner, Leonard Soloway's Broadway, The Prey, Human Lost

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they're seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising?

This week, we get ourselves a late-night snack, visit the Far East to go far out, get preggers long after we're supposed to, see our name in lights, and get excited for another kind movie that's about hunting humans for sport.

Midnight Diner

Director Tony Ka-Fai is bringing an already successful television show into a 90-minute vehicle and I am hungry.

The Midnight Diner is a small one-man, counter-only operation, where Master (Tony Leung) serves up good food in a comfortably informal atmosphere. Everyone has a story; all through the year they come to taste Master's down-home cooking, and to leave the Midnight Diner refreshed and full.

Not only have I bookmarked the first season of this show, which is streaming on Netflix, but this trailer is divine. I appreciate the small details such as the use of sounds and visuals to contextualize the narrative when there isn't one, how it playfully dances between the sense of loneliness. It's peppered with moments of excitement, introspection, and the sense that there is something more to this little hole in the wall. It's a curious narrative device, being able to hear stories of random people and sending them on their way once their meal is "done," but this seems like a story worth sitting down and watching.

Human Lost

Anime isn't my thing, but directors Katsuyuki Motohiro and Fuminori Kizaki certainly have my attention.

In a deathless future, a man enters a restricted area and becomes involved in a violent struggle.

Just read that film's description again. It could not be more vague or ambivalent in its description of what's in the trailer. The action seems frenetic, relentless, and unyieldingly in-your-face, but this is the kind of animation I can support. I may not understand the stakes, the narrative, or even who is on what side, but in terms of visual eye-candy, this is really bringing it.

A Bump Along the Way

What I appreciate about director Shelly Love's latest is how it doesn't easily fit into any narrative path that we've all come to expect.

Pamela is a boozy 44-year-old single mother whose teenage daughter Allegra disapproves of her care-free lifestyle. Their fragile relationship is further tested when Pamela becomes pregnant after a one-night stand.

This story is small and there is a real intimacy not only with the subject matter, which is no doubt played for comedic effect. But there's also some humanity peeking out between the lines of what we're seeing. Amusing and tender, the story looks like a winner. However, the trailer simply hums along as it lays out why we're all gathered here and then takes us on a delightful romp through this one life, this one family.

The Prey

Cambodia's here to say that if America is going to yank The Hunt, they're going to give you The Prey. And, if you can believe it, this represents Cambodia's first million dollar budgeted action movie.

Xin (Shangwei) is an undercover Chinese detective. When the criminals that he is investigating are arrested, he is mistakenly sent with them to a remote Cambodian prison. He quickly discovers that the warden (Pansringarm) has no intention of rehabilitating the prisoners, instead offering wealthy businessmen the ultimate hunting experience; human prey. Xin has no choice but to fight for his freedom in a brutal and sadistic game of hunter verses prey.

I'm a sucker for these kinds of high concept movies. There is no point beyond the sheer absurdity of it all, but for the same reason I loved Hard Target, this speaks to that particular low-brow sensibility I possess. Just by watching this trailer, director Jimmy Henderson's sole focus and mandate is clear: Make a movie that delights and makes us forget the USA can't handle this kind of silliness.

Leonard Soloway's Broadway

Director Jeff Wolk is going to have to work at getting people to notice this, so here we go:

Broadway legend Leonard Soloway has brought nearly 150 productions to the stage. The film, narrated by Campbell Scott, is a delightful ride through Broadway's golden age, illuminated by Soloway's dry wit and humorous storytelling.

Since I'm old, one of my favorite shows to watch is CBS Sunday Morning. That's probably why I really dig these explorations into subjects I know nothing about. It's not wildly salacious or built upon whatever the hot topic du jour may be, but it's just about this one thing, this one person, who has a story to tell. The trailer is as genteel as a stroll through the park on a cool summer night and, for someone in the mood for a documentary that feels just like that, this could be a winner.

Nota bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers for possible inclusion in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

  • Doctor Sleep Trailer – Forgettable
  • The Lighthouse Trailer – Getting warmer
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire Trailer - Lovely
  • See Trailer - Yeah, no
  • Midway Trailer – Seriously?
  • Riverdale Season 4 Trailer – If this is your jam, so be it
  • Last Christmas Trailer - Filled with so much treacle
  • Like a Boss Trailer - Nah
  • Little Monsters Trailer – Could be good for a goof
  • Queen and Slim Trailer - Intense
  • Hell House, LLC 3: Lake of Fire Trailer – Hahaha
  • Countdown Trailer – Looks like a fun time at the movies
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark? Trailer – If you liked Goosebumps, you'll like this fo' sho'
  • Castle Rock Season 2 Trailer – Sure, I'll give this a chance
  • Watchmen Trailer – I'll give it this: it's audacious
  • Modern Love Trailer – Completely skippable treacle
  • 63 Up Trailer – Just incredible
  • Dublin Murders Trailer – Fantastic, yet another series to try to find the time to watch 
  • Looking for Alaska Trailer – The youth deserve better