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.  


Thumbnails July 2009

by Tony Medley

The Hangover (8/10): I went into this expecting a raunchy, unfunny, infantile Judd-Apatow-type attempt at comedy. Instead, director Todd Philips has made a creative, entertaining spoof of four guys having a bachelor party by going to Las Vegas where they get more than anyone could have expected. Even though it is raunchy and there are some scurrilous scenes, it is still funny and very entertaining.

The Taking of Pelham 123 (7/10): Oh boy, another remake. The first one in 1974 had Walter Matthau contesting Robert Shaw. This one ups the ante and has superstars Denzel Washington combating John Travolta. Even though it’s nothing extraordinary it held me until the climax, you should pardon the expression, because it ends with a thud. Oh well, compared with most of the stuff that’s been put out this year, this is worth a look.

Away We Go (7/10): Although it opens with an extended distasteful scene of oral sex, director Sam Mendes challenges his audience to listen and think. John Krasinski and Verona Maya Rudolph comprise a mixed-race unmarried couple expecting a child. The title refers to their gallivanting all over the continent trying to find a place to settle down, coming in contact with weird characters, all of whom have lots to say about relationships and raising children. This should make most men squirm as it did me. All of the laughter was from the women in the audience, and there were lots of them. So I squirmed and looked at my watch a lot. But in the end the dialogue is interesting and thought-provoking.

The Girl From Monaco (5/10) Fabrice Luchini and Roschdy Zem give wonderful performances as a brilliant middle-aged criminal defense lawyer in Monaco to defend a famous accused, and his bodyguard, respectively. They are done in by Louise Bourgoin, a much younger TV weather girl, who seduces Luchini, driving him crazy. Bourgoin, a former TV weather girl in real life, earned a César nomination as best Female Newcomer. Even so, for me she was the weakest part of the film, hardly the femme fatale, like Ludivine Sagnier, who can try men’s souls that the role requires. (In French).

The Proposal (5/10): This story about an overbearing female boss (Sandra Bullock) falling for a man who works for her (Ryan Reynolds) has been made more times than I’d like to count. Renée Zellweger and Harry Connick, Jr. made it earlier this year, calling it “New in Town.” But that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining, mainly due to Reynolds, whose brilliant comedic talent, abetted by an award-quality performance by Denis O’Hare as the immigrant agent out to get Bullock deported, carry the first 50 minutes. Alas, when he is supposed to fall in love with Bullock, there is such a lack of chemistry between the two that it rapidly degenerates and then sinks in terminal derivativity.

Land of the Lost (3/10): This Will Ferrelll vehicle was the equivalent of a non sexual succubus, slowly sucking out my intellect with each succeeding scene. I sat there in awe at the sheer inanity of it. It only lights up when the T-Rex makes its periodic appearances.

Whatever Works (0/10): Woody Allen’s clumsy, unfunny homage to secular humanism, written in the 1970s for Zero Mostel, is peopled by not ready for the B-list players and looks as if it was shot on a 6 figure budget in less than a week. Woody is frank in stating that the nihilism he extols in this film, do anything you like just so it makes you happy, is his philosophy of life.