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. Click book to order.  

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (9/10)

by Tony Medley

Fantasy, animals who speak, mystical lands; these are not the stuff of which my movie dreams are made. How surprised was I, then, to sit through 135 minutes of this thoroughly transported to the magic land of Narnia.

Director Andrew Adamson (who also has a co-producer credit and a co-writer, with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely)  credit), whose first take at the C.S. Lewis trilogy, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” took in a mind-boggling $745 million, is back and what he produces is scintillating.

Two brothers and two sisters, the Pevensie children, Lucy (12-year-old Georgie Henley), Edmund (16-year-old Skandar Keynes), Susan (19-year-old Anna Popplewell), and Peter (21-year-old William Moseley), are whisked off an WWII tube station back to Narnia, where they encounter Prince Caspian (26-year-old Ben Barnes), whose uncle, King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto, in a smashing performance) is out to kill him to take the throne for himself.

Ben gets away from the castle by the skin of his teeth and finds himself in the forest, wherein dwell the Narnians, led by Trumpkin the Red Dwarf (Peter Dinklage) and Nikabrik the Black Dwarf (3’6” Warwick Davis’). Everybody thought the Narnians were extinct. Wrong. Thus starts an action-packed, fun-filled adventure with the Pevensies, Caspian, the Narnians and all their compatriots from the animal kingdom, including Asian the Lion (voiced by Liam Neeson), some centaurs, Trufflehunter (voiced by Ken Stott), a badger, and Reepicheep (voiced by Eddie Izzard), a 22-inch high mouse who looks and acts like D’Artagnon, all trying to defeat King Miraz, and he them. This film introduces Reepicheep. The next one, “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” will be his story, according to Adamson.

Adamson has done such a brilliant job of pacing that there is no point in the movie where you can leave for any reason whatever. If you do leave, you will undoubtedly miss something.

The cinematography (Karl Walter Lindenlaub) and production design (Roger Ford) and beautiful. The visual effects (The Moving Picture Company and Framestore-CFC, Dean Wright and Wendy Rogers, Supervisors) are out of this world. Maybe the real star of the movie is the KNB EFX Group for the special makeup/creature/character prosthetics. I generally don’t like all this fantasy stuff, but what they created actually had me buying the whole thing.

The acting is first rate, but the person who captivated me was Georgie Henley, who seems to me to be a budding star.

I suppose there is someone out there who might not like this, but I’m not one of them and I’m a very hard sell. This is 135 minutes that goes by in a trice.

May 13, 2008