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Make Your Next Watching List: Three Handpicked Movies

Searching for a GREAT STORY?

Wanting to experience a VISUAL FEAST?

Thinking about taking a BREAK from the school work?

Time for a movie treat!

With numerous movies being shown in the cinema, I selected three of them that I had personally seen (or personally read the original novel) to write about. Take a look. One of them might be on your next watching list.


——————————— MINOR SPOILER ALERT! ————————————-





*Doctor Strange*


This is the No.1 Marvel’s movie of 2016 that I recommend (Deadpool the second). If you are a big fan of Inception, you must not miss this one. Despite the upset orientalism in its cast, I consider it as a great superhuman movie. Tip: watch it in the cinema, and watch the 3D version.

Personally, what Doctor Strange did better than Inception and many other movies of the same type is the credibility of the plot, that for the former you literally fall into the world with no doubt, no matter how incredible it appears to be in the real life. In addition, I like the seemingly unsolvable paradox in the protagonist: Being a renowned neurosurgeon who is proud of keeping people from death and diseases, Dr. Strange has to become a superhuman who takes people’s lives, and makes deal with the evil for the greater good.

like Inception, Doctor Strange did a great job in presenting a world with the effacement of time. I shed tears in the sequence of Strange approaching yet being repetitiously killed by Dormammu (who determines death in the dark dimension) in the infinite time loop, forcing the latter to agree on not engulfing Earth. That scene moved me because It is where I saw something humanistic beyond the nearly perfect (at least to me) imbedding of science into the storyline, beyond all the fancy VFX (visual effects) and elaborate settings.



*The Girl on the Train*

Directed by Tate Taylor, the movie is an adaptation of Paula Hawkins’s 2015 novel of the same name. According to Wikipedia, the novel debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2015 list dated February 1, 2015, and remained in the top position for 13 consecutive weeks. It became the No.1 bestseller again for another 2 weeks in January 2016.

I haven’t seen the film yet (it is on at the screening room downtown), but I had this book’s accompany during this Fall semester, every day an hour before bedtime, which was a fantastic experience (somehow the creepy scenes didn’t influence my sleep). Although I cannot guarantee the quality of the film without first-hand experience, I definitely recommend the book.

It tells a story of a divorced woman Rachel, who is also an alcoholic, both intentionally and unintentionally getting involved in a murder case, in which her ex-husband’s family and their neighbours have been engaged.

As a psychological thriller, it offers just the right tension and suspension. I especially like the element of the train that Rachel takes every day to the workplace existing as a leading thread throughout the story. Reading this novel is exactly like taking a train. You would never know what is happening on the other side of the window, as you would never know the truth until the last page, which is the most amazing part of the book.



*Rhymes for Young Ghouls*


Well, this is not a 2016 film, it had its premiere at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2013. But last month I got the chance to watch it in Film110 class with the presence of Jeff Barnaby, the director.

Based on the dark history of the First Nations people oppressed by the government agents in a Mi’kmaq Indian reserve, the film tells a story of a young girl’ revenge against the sadistic Indian agent who runs a residential school at the reserve.

The film blew my mind, not only because of the numerous shocking and disturbing scenes, but the way of the director telling such a heartbreaking history by mixing personal experience, folk-custom, fictional imagination, as well as the composition of animation, realistic drama, and element of horror. Although with limited budget, this independent film offers great cinematography.

Apart from the fantastic production, the film has a strong concern about the reality of the First Nations people in Canada, regarding the missing and murdered indigenous people, both past and present. In the film, the vengeance carried out by the heroine conveys the director’s own refusal of reconciliation in terms of imperialism and colonialism.


(All pictures from Google)

Ma Chengcheng

Name: Ma Chengcheng Program: Cultural Studies, Year 2 About Me: I Completed my undergrads at Tsinghua University, with two bachelors in Chinese Language and Literature; Journalism and Communication. I am now in Cultural Studies at Queen's, specializing in Film and Media. My current research interest lies in contemporary cinematic culture, mainly on the visual representation of cinematic ideology. I start with "textual" analysis of film publicity, and combine it to the new mechanism of movie-goers seeing and perceiving cinematic images in the postmodern society. I am also into arts outside academia. I had three years' training in sketch, but later on I took up photography. I've been trying to infuse my sensibility to the art world into my academic research. During the past two years, I've travelled a lot to Japan, Korea, Canada, America, Germany, France, Holland, Spain, and different provinces of China, which largely enriched my experience. During these journeys, I always carried what I had learnt in class with me, and embraced new things with a critical mindset. Why I chose Queen’s: I have to say that Queen's is really good at outreaching. The funding is satisfactory. But the main reason that I chose Queen's is owing to the department setting of Cultural Studies, which is extraordinary interdisciplinary. This is awesome because I've got a platform to combine my varied academic backgrounds and interests together in a productive way. What I’m here to blog about: Grad students are really bound up in the readings, conferences, TA jobs, and even part-time jobs. We may not be so active on social media. However, our voices need to be heard, either by ourselves or by others. We need a place like Gradifying to exchange minds, share opinions, and build up networks. I always love reading and writing. And I see this an opportunity to use my skills to benefit the community of grad students.

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