Monday, 31 December 2007

(*) AMELIE *****

Original Title: Le Fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain
France/Germany: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001

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Original Title: El Laberinto del fauno
Mexico/Spain/USA: Guillermo del Toro, 2006

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Original Title: El Espinazo del diablo
Spain/Mexico: Guillermo del Toro, 2001

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Original Title: Das Leben der Anderen
Germany: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006

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Saturday, 29 December 2007

Friday, 28 December 2007


USA/Singapore: Ridley Scott, 1982/2007

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Monday, 24 December 2007


Mexico: Guillermo del Toro, 1993

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Saturday, 22 December 2007


USA: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson and Hamilton Luske, 1955

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Friday, 21 December 2007

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Saturday, 8 December 2007


USA: Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, 1991

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Saturday, 1 December 2007

Sunday, 25 November 2007


USA: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson and Hamilton Luske, 1951

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Friday, 23 November 2007

Monday, 19 November 2007

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Thursday, 8 November 2007


Original Title: La Maschera del Demonio
Italy: Mario Bava, 1960

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Sunday, 4 November 2007

Friday, 2 November 2007


Australia/UK: John Hillcoat, 2005

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Monday, 29 October 2007

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Friday, 26 October 2007

Monday, 22 October 2007


Original Title: La Morte ha fatto l'uovo
Italy/France: Giulio Questi, 1968

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BLOW UP ****

UK/Italy/USA: Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966

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Saturday, 20 October 2007


UK/Luxembourg: Neil Marshall, 2002

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Sunday, 14 October 2007

Saturday, 13 October 2007


The girlfriend and I went to see Maximo Park at XFM'S Big Night Out at Brixton Academy.

Score: 9/10

Thursday, 11 October 2007


USA/Germany: Paul Greengrass, 2004

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Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Sunday, 23 September 2007


Listened to the audio book and read along with a paperback copy of the novel. A timeless masterpiece.

Score: 10/10


UK/USA: John Gorrie, 1980

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Russia/UK: Stanislav Sokolov, 1992

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Tuesday, 18 September 2007


Today I am 28 years young.

Monday, 17 September 2007


Today I begin my PGCE... argh!

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Thursday, 16 August 2007


The girlfriend and I went to see Macbeth by William Shakespeare at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park. This avant-garde production is part of the 75th Anniversary Season 2007.

Score: 8/10

Sunday, 1 July 2007


Hello and welcome to my brand new site Moody Movies!

After a period of extended slumber and inactivity I have decided to begin anew and start a fresh website. You can still access my old blog at and over the coming weeks I'll be migrating over any posts I wish to keep. So please add to your bookmarks/favourites and I'll endeavour to post news, reviews and other general comment on the world of film and much, much more besides.

Why the long silence in the first place? The short answer is simply that I have recently relocated to London and my free time was taken up with the move. I also have a tendency to procrastinate and this often leads to several other items demanding my attention. However, it is still my ardent wish to have a space all my own on the Internet to write a few words on the things I enjoy. Thus my resolution shall be to manage my time better from now on. This will allow me to develop something of a routine and hopefully post more regularly. As always your comments and suggestions are most welcome.

Best wishes

Count Fosco

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Friday, 18 May 2007

(*) UNITED 93 ****

France/UK/USA: Paul Greengrass, 2006

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Sunday, 13 May 2007


UK: Martin Shardlow, 1981 (Created by John Sullivan)

As part of the ongoing and evolving cultural exchange taking place between my girlfriend and I, we have decided to sit down and watch every single episode of Only Fools and Horses - officially my favourite TV sitcom ever. As I'm often to be found watching an episode of Only Fools and Horses whilst doing pretty much anything else - working, cooking, cleaning, sleeping or relaxing - it may slip my mind to organise posts on individual series but here goes.

We have finished series 1 already and what is left to say about it aside from repeating the fact that it is simply the funniest and most enjoyable sitcom ever made.

Score: 10/10

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Friday, 11 May 2007


UK: Becky Martin, 2007 (Created by Andrew O'Connor, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain)

I must admit that I am still surprised the 'POV' aesthetic hasn't worn thin and that the quality of the writing still remains despite this show now having completed four series. Central to the continued appeal is the brilliant performances of David Mitchell and Robert Webb.

Score: 8/10

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aka: Communion
USA: Alfred Sole, 1976

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Tuesday, 8 May 2007


Original Title: Il Miele del diavolo
Spain/Italy: Lucio Fulci, 1986

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Monday, 7 May 2007

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Saturday, 5 May 2007


Original Title: Una Lucertola con la pelle di donna
Spain/Italy/France: Lucio Fulci, 1971

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Thursday, 3 May 2007

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

24 - SEASON 2

USA: Various Directors, 2002-2003 (Created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran)

The opening 12 episodes of this season is without question the strongest and most exhilarating story arc I yet to enjoy in 24. In fact, I wish in some way the season ended there despite the conceit of the show's title dictating every singe season must have twenty-four episodes occurring in real time. You see the show just can't maintain momentum for such a long run of episodes in the perpetual present of its diegesis. Instead the scripts turn to head-slappingly nonsensical twists and absurd shifts in the behaviour of its principal cast which undermines any characterisation the show has built up.

Score: 7/10

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Monday, 30 April 2007


UK: Tristram Shapeero, 2005 (Created by Andrew O'Connor, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain)

Still one of the funniest shows on TV but sadly I found this series relied too much on purile sexual innuendo and sensationalist bad taste humour. It all felt a little low-rent compared to the superior first two series.

Score: 7/10

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Friday, 27 April 2007

Tuesday, 24 April 2007


Original Title: Sei donne per l'assassino
Italy/Monaco/France/West Germany: Mario Bava, 1964

(Film watched with Tim Lucas commentary)

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Commentary Rating: 8/10

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Wednesday, 18 April 2007


UK: Piers Haggard, 1971

(Watched with audio commentary by Director/co-writer Piers Haggard, co-writer Robert Wynne-Simmons and actress Linda Hayden. Commentary moderated by Jonathan Sothcott)

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Commentary Rating: 8/10


USA: Vincenzo Natali, 2002

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Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Monday, 16 April 2007

(*) DRACULA ****½

aka: Horror of Dracula
UK: Terence Fisher, 1958

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Sunday, 15 April 2007

Friday, 13 April 2007


USA/Germany/UK/Czech Republic: Martin Campbell, 2006

I thought Casino Royale was a solid and professional effort. It was the almost universally positive reviews (many from non-Bond fans to boot) that piqued my interest in this film.

Personally, I thought the Bond franchise was dead and buried after the Brosnan era, so the makers of Casino Royale do deserve a lot of credit for taking some brave decisions in an effort to re-imagine the Bond formula for the 21st Century.

I liked the contemporary setting and modern trappings of the film and understand why - having attached Daniel Craig to the picture - they went all out for a more rugged and muscular Bond. However, in my mind James Bond will always be blue-eyed, dark haired and intellectually attuned rather than the action-hero cypher, I felt Craig ended up being for most of the film. Although, I suspect this change of emphasis in Casino Royale is due to the desire to get back to a back-to-basics, no wisecracks, more believable-type Bond based more on Ian Fleming's original creation.

As an actor Craig is more than capable of delivering a good performance so I had no problems with him being Bond before I watched the film. Unfortunately, having watched it I was a little disappointed. It is just like I said for me personally, I prefer a little more going on upstairs and some wry wordplay over lots of running and jumping with explosions in the background. My memory of this film mainly consists of Craig trying too hard to put on a "I'm a tough guy face" for fear of cracking a smile or showing any emotional warmth and thus undoing the macho persona.

That said, Casino Royale was the best Bond film I can recall seeing in years - I haven't been a fan since I was a young child - and I appreciate the script's efforts to offer explanation for Bond's (now socially unacceptable) future promiscuity and misuse of women by showing us how he loved and lost in the form of Eva Green's character (a very lukewarm performance in my opinion, again because I believed the hype - she is though a beautiful and gifted actress) back when it all began.

In the end, I find the Bond character to be an anachronism and don't think the film makers have completely overcome that yet. I am optimistic that Craig will be allowed to grow in a more nuanced representation of Fleming's protagonist and Craig has the ability to make the role his own.

However, my personal taste is not for action moves and I found myself drifting off during many of the numerous action sequences with little compulsion to piece together the narrative for myself in between. That said my concentration may have been impaired due to a large dinner and two bottles of wine shared with the girlfriend.

I would like to see the Uncut version of the film and do intend to watch Casino Royale again at some point. Although I doubt I'll be adding it to the DVD Wishlist just yet.

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Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Monday, 9 April 2007

Saturday, 7 April 2007


UK/USA: Alfonso Cuarón, 2006

I watched this film tonight with the girlfriend. Both of us were gripped and enthralled from start to finish. The real stand-out aspects for me were Clive Owen giving a genuinely accomplished performance and best of all the superb cinematography. Yes, the film is quite dark in places and very drab colour scheme wise but that frayed urban feel really captures the current zeitgeist of defeat and despair inherent to late-capitalist society.

The hand-held camera aesthetic, often over done in the hands of a less capable director and crew, was masterfully handled especially in the long continuous shot inside the building in the refugee slum. I also felt that whilst bordering on the over-stated the momentary halt brought to the bloodletting between the "terrorists" and the army by the sight of Owen and Key bringing out the crying baby summed up visually the films thematic core. That of human life, whatever its ethnicity, is something to be valued and treated with respect. A lesson history tells us we've yet to learn and inevitably never will as our supposed civilised society flounders from one bloody conflict to another. One only has to reflect on our own growing tendency in Britain to shoot, stab and murder our own neighbours in both city and countryside.

On a negative note though I did find the ending a little too abrupt and it highlighted my main criticism of the film over all. Whilst Director Alfonso Cuarón may wish to bring the background to the foreground and really tell the story through images I felt this technique contributed to a lack of depth being given to the main characters. However, this is just a personal response as I was moved by the film (the isolated school scene in particular) and could have even been moved to tears I suspect if the characters had engaged my sympathy to a greater degree by the film allowing me to get to know them better.

Oh well, guess I’ll have to buy the original novel by PD James...

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Friday, 6 April 2007


USA/Singapore: Ridley Scott, 1982 (the director's cut released in 1992)

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UK: Terence Fisher, 1957

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Thursday, 5 April 2007

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Sunday, 1 April 2007


USA/UK: Christopher Nolan, 2006

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Thursday, 29 March 2007


UK: Various Directors, 2001 (Created by Tim Loane)

Fun and whimsical UK comedy-drama with some well observed performances.

Score: 8/10

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Friday, 23 March 2007


Original Title: Mou gaan dou
Hong Kong: Wai Keung Lau and Siu Fai Mak, 2002

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Thursday, 22 March 2007


Germany/USA: David Cronenberg, 2005

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Saturday, 17 March 2007

Thursday, 15 March 2007


USA/Hong Kong: Martin Scorsese, 2006

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Sunday, 11 March 2007

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Sunday, 4 March 2007


USA/Germany: Donald Petrie, 2003

Being left in a room with nothing but your girlfriend's DVD collection can do weird things to you. This 'battle-of-the-sexes' rom-com is certainly not my typical night's viewing, however, much like the curiosity that teenage girl magazines evoked in me during my puberty I couldn't resist taking a peek. Actually, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days was far better than I was expecting and at the end of a long day, I did find myself in the right frame of mind to giggling along with the easy, unchallenging humour.

As far as the story goes it is pretty familiar stuff with two supposedly ambitious and calculating young professionals courting each other in the name of a bet, only to realise by the end that in fact they have fallen in love for real. Okay so the film is rather superficial and lacks any real emotional pull (the tissues were left untouched on the bedside table) but in Matthew McConaughey and especially Kate Hudson it does feature two likeable leads. Indeed, Kate Hudson in particular impressed me by her comedic assurance (no doubt picked up from parents Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn) and her disarmingly natural on screen presence. For those who haven't yet seen it I would strongly recommend watching Hudson's engaging performance in effective chiller The Skeleton Key.

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Saturday, 3 March 2007


Germany/UK: John Fawcett, 2005

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Friday, 2 March 2007


USA/Germany: Bobby and Peter Farrelly, 2001

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Wednesday, 28 February 2007

24 - SEASON 1

USA: Various Directors, 2001-2002 (Created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran)

Having encouraged my girlfriend to sit through various films she had yet to see such as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Star Wars and the works of Woody Allen and Pixar. It is now my turn to sit down and catch-up with a show I have let pass me by until now. 24 is one of her favourite shows and in order to watch the most recent season I have agreed to go back and watch all the seasons aired so far. Wish me luck!

The first season was actually incredibly entertaining. I like Kiefer Sutherland as an actor and having missed most contemporary mainstream US TV drama I found the show's Hollywood inflected script, aesthetic gloss and high production values rather seductive. I also find the central premise of the show an engaging one but felt the linger the season went on the more frequently a dull or stupid episode would come along. However, I did find the season finale engaging and liked the characters enough to wade through some of the overblown acting and issues with plot credibility.

Score: 8/10

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Monday, 26 February 2007


USA: Paul Auster and Wayne Wang, 1995

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Sunday, 25 February 2007

(*) MAGNOLIA ****

USA: Paul Thomas Anderson, 1999

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Tuesday, 20 February 2007

UNITED 93 ****

France/UK/USA: Paul Greengrass, 2006

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Monday, 19 February 2007

NARC ****

USA/Canada: Joe Carnahan, 2002

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Saturday, 17 February 2007


USA/Germany: Phil Alden Robinson, 2002

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Monday, 12 February 2007

Sunday, 11 February 2007

CRASH ***½

USA/Germany: Paul Haggis, 2004

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Thursday, 8 February 2007

Sunday, 4 February 2007

(*) KING KONG ***½

New Zealand/USA: Peter Jackson, 2005

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Friday, 26 January 2007

Sunday, 21 January 2007

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

(*) ANTZ ****

USA: Eric Darnell and Tim Johnson, 1998

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Sunday, 14 January 2007


USA/UK/Germany: John McTeigue, 2005

In what is fast becoming our weekly ritual, the girlfriend (or The Countessa as she shall now forthwith be respectfully referred to) and I snuggled up this Sunday evening to watch V For Vendetta. I had succeeded in side stepping the buzz surrounding the film during the course of its theatrical release. However, I was intrigued by its rumoured play upon the Guy Fawkes legend and had been meaning to give the disc a spin at some point.

Now I know very little about the film's tortuous transition from highly respected graphic novel to big budget misfire at the UK box office. I therefore had very few preconceived expectations, aside from a feint hope the Wachowski's brothers involvement in the script but noticeable absence from direction, would serve up a better film than the last two instalments of The Matrix Trilogy. Upon reflection I would have to say that I did enjoy the film by some measure above those ill fated cash-ins. V For Vendetta is not without its flaws but within its comic book sensibilities and anti-hero tale of revolution it succeeds in raising some pertinent questions.

The film's milieu maybe that of a non too distant London in the grip of a fascist dictatorship, but the allusions to present America are unmistakable. Specifically, John Hurt's (in an ironic nod to his casting as the victim in the film adaptation of George Orwell's 1984) Chancellor Adam Sutler, the zealot who reigns supreme over this dystopian totalitarian state, can be read as a thinly veiled allegory for the current tyrannical U.S. administration of George W. Bush. For more on this theme I point you toward a full review by Michael Mackenzie. I take my hat off to Michael as his appraisal is fair and balanced rather than the "for or against" hyperbole which has been a feature of many other opinions on the film. It appears this division is in large part due to the filmmakers omitting or being fanciful with the hallowed original material. In any case I found Michael's review very informative and it offered me a greater understanding of the film.

V For Vendetta does approach the issues surrounding the West's response to the threat of terrorism. It also challenges us to consider the reality of genuine representation and recognition of the will of a country's populous in the political systems of power which operate in a democratic society. However, it must be said the film does all this in a rather silly and idealistically muddled manner. But nevertheless it still succeeds at being entertaining.

The Countessa was far less forgiving and felt this film was... "crap" to put it succinctly. I wouldn't quite go that far. It is true though, if you are not able to come to the film with an adequate suspension of disbelief, intriguing social commentary or otherwise, the film simply isn't going to hold an interest for you.

Memorable line:
"... artists use lies to tell the truth while politicians use them to cover the truth up"

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Friday, 12 January 2007


USA: Gary Fleder, 2003

Tonight the girlfriend and I had a night in with a takeaway and a movie. Like many I suspect, we are trying to make a concerted effort to save some money this month after an extravagant Christmas. Anyway, it was the ladies choice on this occasion (there are limits to how many gialli and the like I can talk her into watching lol!). Flicking through the channels a few nights previously it came to my attention Runaway Jury was scheduled to be shown on BBC One. I recalled the girlfriend citing this as a film she particularly enjoyed, being into the courtroom drama/John Grisham adapted Hollywood thriller type of genre. So pushing the record button on the always reliable Sky Plus Box we arrived at Friday night with our film all ready to watch.

I mention the build up and the setting (quiet night in, Sky TV and takeaway) as it wasn't dissimilar to the film. Runaway Jury is not a particularly original film nor is its execution in anyway innovative or new. It is, however, competently made with its requisite cast of attractive lead boy/girl couple (John Cusack and Rachel Weisz) and established supporting heavyweights (Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman). Much like the Domino's pizza we soon devoured, Runaway Jury is a fast, convenient fix which leaves one full but not entirely satisfied.

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Sunday, 7 January 2007


UK: Tristram Shapeero, 2004 (Created by Andrew O'Connor, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain)

Very entertaining second season of this intelligent and silly UK sitcom.

Score: 8/10


USA: Alfred Hitchcock, 1954

This Sunday the girlfriend and I sat down and watched Dial M For Murder. I had bought the disc some time last year and promptly added it to the growing "to watch" pile in my room. To be honest based upon what I had read from the odd review and occasional Hitch biography, I assumed the M stood for mediocre rather than masterpiece. However, far from only being notable for Hitchcock's interest in 3D at the time, Dial M For Murder is a bona-fide classic.

The film is something of a departure from Hitchcock's "man on the run" suspense pictures and is faithfully adapted from a successful stage play. To say adapted for the screen is in some ways an overstatement. To paraphrase Peter Bogdanovich, interviewed as an extra on the disc, Hitch's motto when it came to putting plays on the cinema screen was simply to shoot the page as written. This is not to say the film doesn't have some memorable shots. However, Dial M for Murder sees Hitchcock rein in his technical flair to employ his uncanny sense of economically putting the camera in just the right place to aid the development of the plot. This pushes the story to the foreground ably assisted by a quite wonderful script and superb acting.

Ray Millard is a delight as the would be mastermind behind the 'perfect crime' to off his rich wife (Grace Kelly) and his performance goes a long way to making this film the success it is. Anthony Dawson is the hapless crook coerced into Millard's plan, however, typically things do not unfold as foreseen. Any mystery surrounding the crimes is dispensed with almost immediately, but the audience is skillfully gripped from start to finish. The fact we are made aware of every machination of the lead protagonist only heightens our fascination with his eventual downfall. Highly recommended.

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Friday, 5 January 2007

Monday, 1 January 2007


UK: Jeremy Wooding, 2003 (Created by Andrew O'Connor, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain)

Quite simply one of the funniest UK sitcoms I've seen for years. Go watch it!

Score: 10/10

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