Sunday, 25 March 2018

What I've Been Watching: In March

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Much like my TV and movie watching habits in general, there's a real mix of stuff in this month's What I've Been Watching post and I really do urge you to watch as many of these as you can as I have a feeling your outlook will be changed as a result of each and every one of them, even Happy Death Day.

Active Shooter: America Under Fire

I technically started watching this show in February when it first premiered here in the UK but the series actually concluded this month and really, there was no better time to discuss this documentary series than now. It still absolutely blows my mind that we even have to have a discussion regarding gun control. Why the average American, the one that they always use as the example of why they should have guns, would need a semi automatic assault rifle to defend his land or home in the event of a robbery? I mean, it's honestly laughable. It really is unreal that nothing has and nothing probably ever will change and yet thousands upon thousands are killed every year.

Active Shooter chronicles several of the most prolific and deadliest mass shootings in recent US history including the likes of Pulse nightclub in Orlando, San Bernardino, the Aurora movie theater shooting and Columbine. Through both archival footage and the accounts of victims, their family members and first responders, we get some kind of sense of what happened on that fateful day but not only that, we also the see the aftermath of the shootings and what little change has been made since. We see what we take for granted living somewhere like the UK and it's completely devastating and heartbreaking to see children taught active shooter drills in the same way that we're taught fire drills. It makes me angry even typing up this review, which only makes me want to share it with you all the more. Hopefully what we've seen in recent weeks following the Parkland shooting is only the beginning and change is actually on it's way but I won't be holding my breath anytime soon, sadly.

Life and Death Row: The Mass Execution

I'm not entirely sure why but I find documentaries about true crime truly fascinating and I'm always drawn to those kinds of TV shows, even when the likes of Piers Morgan are hosting them (which really does say something about my urge to watch them). I've watched a good number of these types of documentaries and TV shows on Netflix but I actually stumbled across Life and Death Row on the BBC iPlayer at the end of last month. It seems that there have been previous Life and Death Row series to this one, which I've already started but this most recent one, is currently or has just finished airing on BBC. I actually binge watched the entire series over the course of a few nights instead of waiting each week for it to air as there was the option to do so on iPlayer.

This most recent series, titled The Mass Execution, centres on the state of Arkansas where eight executions are due to be carried out within the course of a fortnight. It follows both the death row inmates, examining their crimes, as well as the families of the victims and the powers at be who have scheduled for the executions to take place. 99% of me has always thought that the death penalty should be completely abolished but in some cases, it really does make you think, well maybe they should die for what they did. Each of the eight cases are so different that you'll no doubt feel different about and towards each of the death row inmates and again, like with the previous show, it's crazy to see how different the US is to the UK for example, on some major issues and yet we all probably have the US on our list of places to travel. I mean, I've already got holidays to Florida and New York booked!


Arrival is one of those movies that has been on my 'to watch' list for a while now and thankfully I was able to check it off that list this month. If you or someone you know has Amazon Prime Video, you'll find it there, as I did. I'm a big fan of Amy Adams but not necessarily of sci-fi films however, don't let that put you off if you're considering giving Arrival a watch. What really had me wanting to watch it, in addition to being a fan of Amy's, was the fact that it was directed by Denis Villeneuve who directed the brilliant Sicario and Prisoners, both of which are movies that I absolutely loved.

It's not your typical alien or alien invasion movie in the slightest and actually the characters interactions with the aliens is really just a sub plot in a way, as we begin to find out more about Dr Banks, played by Adams and humanity and the way in which it would react, as a whole. The twist at the end (I promise I won't give anything away) was also a real shock and something that I certainly wasn't expecting plus it makes you look back on what you've just watched in an entirely different way. There really is a reason why this is as highly rated and award nominated as it is and is well worth a watch.

Happy Death Day

Dubbed Groundhog Day meets Scream, I had some idea what to expect from Happy Death Day but I am so happy to say that it actually far surpassed my expectations and didn't take the route that I originally thought that it would. Essentially, what happens is that the main character relives the same day over and over again but instead of just going to sleep and waking up again for it to be that same day, each night Tree (yes, her name is Tree!) is killed by a masked killer. As she attempts to work out who the killer is whist simultaneously trying not to get killed again, we find out more about Tree and the people in her life and I have a feeling that you'll change your mind on who the killer really is more than once, at least I did anyway.

There are some jumpy bits and classic horror movie scenes but they actually feel fresh, given that it has been some time since we last saw this kind of slasher movie. You also genuinely go from thinking isn't Tree just the worst person ever, to actually rooting for her to finally beat her killer and survive until the next morning. If you're looking for a movie to watch this weekend, I would definitely recommend giving Happy Death Day a go.

A Streetcat Named Bob

As mentioned in my What I Got For My Birthday This Year blog post, I received both this movie and Happy Death Day, for my birthday this year. It was another one of those movies that I'd had on my 'to watch' list for a while but hadn't actually gotten around to seeing, so when I saw it, with the book as well, for just £5 on a food shopping trip to Sainsbury's, I just had to add it to my trolley. My Mum then very kindly asked if I'd like it for my birthday, which I happily accepted.

If you haven't seen the trailer for this movie or read the book, it's about a homeless man who's struggled with heroin addition and the ways in which his life changes when Bob, a ginger moggy who also seems to be down on his luck, comes into his life. It's honestly one of the nicest movies that I've seen in a long time and it taught me quite a bit about both the life of a recovering addict and a street busker and how just one incident can change your life for the worse or in James and Bob's case, the better. I also couldn't help but smile whenever I saw Bob appear on screen. He really is such a special cat. I mean, not only is Bob the most adorable cat that I've ever seen, it's the real Bob not a trained cat that plays him in the movie, which just makes everything that he does even more impressive. Seriously, where can I find my own Bob?!

Have you seen any of the shows or movies that I included in this month's post? If so, what did you think of them? And what have you been watching this month?


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