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  • Get Lost!

    Get Lost!

    ★★★½

    Essentially Series One in all but name of the better known Beiderbecke Affair, this is a mordantly enjoyable dawdle where the at-cross-purposes dialogue and digressions are as important as the plot. In fact the playful reference to Alfred Hitchcock in Episode One rather tells you that the plot is a bit of a Maguffin and the joy instead sits with the elliptical conversations, sparky playing and translation of American gumshoe fiction to a resolutely British locale (the imbued Leeds locations are almost the third billed star here). The follow-up series is an improvement but this is good downbeat fun.

  • It's Your Move

    It's Your Move

    ★★★

    One is always aware with anything written by Sykes of it being comedy ‘business’ that is a series of gags that are just gags and thus people doing their schtick or patter without much truth to the situation. Mechanical sums it up, especially when they’re devoid of dialogue like here with everything resting on visual ‘business’ which tend to soar or fall more precariously depending on the concentrated quality of the joke.

    What these films lack, compared to say Ronnie…

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  • Porridge

    Porridge

    ★★★

    From the very tail-end of the 1970s rash of British cinematic sitcom spinoffs this is one of the best - not much competition on that front of course, and it was one of the best on television too. It’s probably no coincidence that two of the better spinoffs were scripted by Clement & La Franais - this and the earlier Likely Lads - both with original scripts not recycled scenes from the television versions. 

    Looking more like a bleak social realist…

  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers

    Invasion of the Body Snatchers

    ★★★★½

    An excellent riff on themes of paranoia with an assured use of naturalistic detail covering the inevitable plot hysterics. It’s chief appeal lies in the multiple layers of circumstantial detail which meld seeming red herrings, visual motifs and creeping unease with keenly controlled skill. In both paranoia and style it’s the heir to earlier films such as The Conversation, of which this marks out the tail-end of that informal cycle with mistrust of authority delineated in purely cinematic terms.

    As…