The first edition of Complete Idiot's Guide to Bridge by H. Anthony Medley was the fastest selling beginning bridge book, going through more than 10 printings. This updated Second Edition includes some modern advanced bidding systems and conventions, like Two over One, a system used by many modern tournament players, Roman Key Card Blackwood, New Minor Forcing, Reverse Drury, Forcing No Trump, and others. Also included is a detailed Guide to Bids and Responses, along with the most detailed, 12-page Glossary ever published, as well as examples to make learning the game even easier.  

Gone Baby Gone (9/10)

by Tony Medley

After bouncing around Hollywood for the better part of two decades giving less than mediocre performances in horrible films (Daredevil 2003, Pearl Harbor 2001, and Smokin’ Aces 2006, to name just a few off the top of my head), director-co-writer (with Aaron Stockard) Ben Affleck has finally found his niche.

This is a dark, hard bitten, profane thriller. It is based on a novel by Dennis Lehane about a kidnapped little girl, the police, and the protagonist, Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck), who tries to solve the Byzantine puzzle.

Little Amanda McCready disappears from her bedroom after her mother, Helene (Amy Ryan), goes out for awhile, leaving Amanda alone. Helene’s brother, Lionel McCready (Titus Welliver) and sister-in-law, Beatrice (Amy Madigan), ask Patrick and his girlfriend, Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan), who specialize in finding missing children, to help the police. They are reluctant, especially Angie, but agree. After a confrontational meeting with police chief Jack Doyle (Morgan Freeman), they meet with the two detectives assigned to the case, Remy Bressant (Ed Harris) and Nick Poole (John Ashton), who are less than thrilled to have Patrick and Angie involved.

What follows is tangled web through which Patrick must traverse to arrive at the truth. This is basically a story of people making decisions and being able to tell right from wrong, and, more to the point, being able to make the right decision when confronted with an alternate decision that is clearly not right, but might seem right. Some are better at it than others. There are lots of confrontations and abundant profane language, much of it from Helene, although Patrick has to meet lots of scum that live in the slummy neighborhood. Nobody’s very nice.

Ben gets terrific performances out of everyone. His sense of timing is superb. Despite a running time of five minutes under two hours, there is never a sense that time is dragging. Any thriller like this is dependent on many things. The music has to put the audience in the mood, and the original music of Harry Gregson-Williams sets and maintains the mood. The ambience of the Boston locations and the darkness of the film are evocatively captured through the cinematography of John Toll. Finally, a film like this is made or broken by the editing. William Goldenberg’s editing is Oscar®-quality.

This is one of the better films of the year.

October 21, 2007