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.  

April 2008 Thumbnails

by Tony Medley

Flawless (10/10): There are so many terrible and mediocre films made today that when I sit through a film and slowly come to the conclusion that I’m seeing something special, something well-written (Edward A. Anderson), well-acted, and well-directed (Michael Radford), I start to get a tingling going up my spine. Those tingles started after thirty minutes of this exceptional thriller in which Michael Caine and Demi Moore (in award-caliber performances) get involved in a complicated diamond heist. Radford has a unique ability to use silence and pace to create tension. Forgive me, but this film is close to flawless.

Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day (9/10): This dual-Cinderella story about how goodness can triumph in the hard world of 1939 London is, very simply, movie-making at its zenith by director Bharat Nalluri. Oscar®-caliber performances by the delicious Amy Adams (whose character’s name is Delysia) and the marvelous Frances McDormand, are abetted by the innovative cinematography of John de Borman.

Married Life (8/10): From the very start, with Doris Day singing “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” this is a captivating Hitchcockian thriller about a man, Chris Cooper, who wants to murder his wife, Patricia Clarkson, because he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings when he leaves her for Rachel McAdams. With that humorous premise and a voice over narration by Cooper’s best friend, Pierce Brosnan, this is far from a comedy. There are some amusing lines and situations, but the story is deadly serious.

The Bank Job (6/10): Despite some graphic violence, if you can hang in for the shamefully slow first half of this based-on-true-story of a 1971 London bank heist, the last 40 minutes is rewarding.

Charlie Bartlett (6/10): Its glorification of teenaged sexual promiscuity notwithstanding, this is a meaningless, forgettable film that can fill an hour and a half of your time relatively enjoyably if you aren’t interested in challenging your mind over anything more complex than how much is 2 + 2.

21 (6/10): The Hollywoodization of a true story changes what could have been gripping drama into derivative mundanity with too many plot holes to count.

The Other Boleyn Girl (5/10): With Eric Bana playing Henry VIII as a tall, women-whipped wimp, and Scarlett Johansson’s Mary Boleyn (who was the “other Boleyn girl,” of the title) taking a back seat to Natalie Portman’s Anne, this bodice-heaving soaper will disappoint readers of Philippa Gregory’s brilliant novel of the same name. If you haven’t read the book, though, it’s an entertaining, eye-filling excursion to Renaissance England.

Drillbit Taylor (5/10): This derivative high school-bully film has so many unrealistic setups that it is hard to sit back and enjoy the always-charming Owen Wilson’s talent and young Troy Gentile’s ability to consistently deliver the laugh line, as well as Alex Frost’s exceptional performance as the bully.

The Grand (3/10): A ludicrous attempt at improvisational comedy with absurd characters that squanders the talents of sitcom kings Gabe Kaplan, Jason Alexander, Woody Harrelson, and Ray Romano.

Penelope (3/10): First time director Mark Palansky has taken a first time movie script by Leslie Caveny that tells a modern fable with a good moral and stretched it out so that 90 minutes seems more like 900. Christina Ricci is intended to be so horrific-looking that suitors jump out the window to escape. Instead she’s just a beautiful woman with a pig’s nose, which renders the premise silly.

Sex and Death 101 (1/10): Answers the question, “What do those dopes in beer commercials do when not drinking beer?” They laugh their socks off at movies like this.