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 2009

by Tony Medley

The Informant (10/10): With Marvin Hamlisch’s playful score setting the tone, this fascinating comedic telling based on a true story of corporate malfeasance is inventively directed by Steven Soderbergh and delightfully acted by Matt Damon. If you don’t know anything about it, it’s not what you expect, with constant twists and turns.

The Baader-Meinhof Complex (9/10): The Baader-Meinhof Group (aka The Red Army Faction, or RAF), in Germany from 1967-77, was the first group of urban terrorists in the terror war. Brilliantly directed and written by Uli Edel this takes a realistic view of a very dangerous period in German history told basically from the terrorists’ POV, filmed on the actual locations, when possible. The acting is uniformly excellent. Throughout almost 2 ½ hours it never drags. In German with excellent subtitles.

Coco before Chanel (9/10): Coco Chanel, unerringly played by Audrey Tautou, was a lot more than the creator of the little black dress. This film by director, co-writer Anne Fontaine is a fascinating portrait of the trend-setting designer as a young woman, capturing how she disdained propriety and truth to claw her way up from nowhere to worldwide acclaim. (In French).

The Damned United (9/10): My enthusiasm for soccer is nil, so when I say that this film is superb, you can take it to the bank. It’s about Brian Clough’s (Michael Sheen) doomed 44 day tenure as manager of the reigning champions of English football and how the rivalry between Clough and Don Revie (Colm Meaney), Clough’s predecessor as the Manager of Leeds United, deeply affected Clough. The rich acting is what makes this film exceptional, headed by Sheen and Timothy Spall, who plays Peter Taylor, Clough’s assistant manager and best friend. Equal to them are Meaney as the overbearing Revie and Jim Broadbent as Clough’s boss, Sam Longson.

Disgrace (8/10): John Malkovich, a divorced Professor of romantic poetry in post-apartheid South Africa, beds one of his students, Antoinette Engel, and all hell breaks loose. This completely upsets his life as well as his daughter’s, Jessica Haines, who lives in the South African outback, where a brutal attack on the two of them by three blacks leaves them emotionally devastated. This is a complex story about emotions and relationships, using people and making compromises, wonderfully acted by Malkovich and Haines.

My One and Only (7/10): Altthough one must endure an entire film watching Renée Zellweger with that “I just sucked a lemon” look on her face, director Richard Loncraine has converted the real life story George Hamilton told to Merv Griffin into an evocative, episodic, entertaining “Route 66” tale of the 1950s.

Love Happens (7/10): A romance without much romance, but still a relatively entertaining trifle.

Bright Star (5/10): Director/co-writer Joan Campion’s recreation of the romance between Romantic poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) circa 1818-20 devotes so much to quotations of poems as dialogue written by Keats to be read, not spoken, that my interest waned. Campion not only gives short shrift to character development and context, she misleads her audience about Fanny after Keats. Nevertheless, it is gorgeously photographed by DOP Greig Fraser, and nothing with the delectable, talented Cornish can be without merit.

All About Steve (1/10): Sandra Bullock creates one of the most unsympathetic protagonists in the history of film, a goofus who stalks Steve (Bradley Cooper) incessantly, and the result is one of the worst movies I’ve ever had the misfortune to endure. Even so, Cooper and Thomas Haden Church, as an egotistical TV reporter, give admirable performances, despite the deplorable script and concept.