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For me, going to the cinemas is enjoyable, there are no distractions, and it's satisfying recognizing something I've worked hard to learn (other benefits are here). It's finally possible to go to the movies again here in Beijing (yay!).

However, I feel like I would benefit more if I prepared prior to going to the movies, but I'm not precisely sure how to prepare. It seems like I should try to "book up" on terminology I anticipate will be in the movie.

Question: What "homework" can I do to benefit more from watching a Chinese movie?

For concreteness, let's say it's the movie 抵达之谜 (preview) which is now showing in Beijing. Assume I don't have access to a script or subtitles.

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I recommend that you use the trailer and any other resources you might have to get an idea of what sorts of situations will appear in the movie. From that, you can decide what sort of vocabulary you should look up in advance. For instance, if it's a movie about young love at a university you may want to look up words related to school, romance, or university life. For a movie about the criminal underground you may want street slang and words related to organized crime.

Another method you could try (I'm assuming you have lots of time on your hands) is to find other media that resembles the movie you are about to watch. If the movie takes place in a city where the accents are different from what you are used to, you could try listening to radio shows from that area. Or if the movie revolves around a certain subculture, you might want to watch a show that talks about that subculture.

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