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.
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.
Up in the Air (9/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 100 minutes.
Not for children.
Clooney is no dummy. He finally figured out how to get in a really good
movie (some people have liked stuff like the “Ocean’s” films and he’s
been in a couple of others that have been OK, but one thing most will
agree on is that he’s a sex symbol for females, which puzzles lots of
guys like me); sign on with Jason Reitman, the Oscar nominated director
of “Juno” and “Thank You For Smoking,”
both of which should have been more highly rewarded.
newest, Reitman not only directed, but wrote the screenplay (with
Sheldon Turner), very loosely based on the novel by Walter Kim. This is
the odyssey of Ryan Bingham (Clooney), in a fictional position invented
by Kim to tell the story of corporate people whose entire life is jet
travel. The position is a person who is hired specifically for the
purpose of firing people. The job is ludicrous, but in the context of
this film, it works.
years of staying happily airborne, flitting from one firing job to
another, keeping a one room apartment but living in hotel rooms most of
the time, Ryan feels he’s got life by the tail.
he falls for a devil-may-care fellow traveler, Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga,
in a captivating performance) and starts a cross-country affair, even
starting to think of, gasp, a commitment. But Ryan’s boss, Craig Gregory
(Jason Bateman), inspired by a young efficiency expert, Natalie Keener
(Anna Kendrick), threatens to permanently call him in from the road.
Faced with the terrifying prospect of being grounded Ryan begins to
contemplate what life might be without airports and hotels. The result
is a film that is both funny and dark, although of low moral tone.
Clooney and Farmiga give excellent performances as a man who thinks he’s
got the life he wants and the woman who unintentionally steals his
heart, most of the laughs go to Kendrick. She has a face and eyes that
reveal her emotions without her uttering a word. She had me laughing out
loud. Reitman created the role with her in mind and he obviously knew
what he was doing. Natalie is a young woman who appears to be as full of
certitude about her view of life as is Ryan about his, but appearances
can be deceiving and both are in for rude awakenings.
Unfortunately, Reitman succumbs to
voodoo when he inserts a young big-breasted body double for Vera
Farmiga’s nude scene. This scene is jarring for two reasons. First, the
nude scene is entirely gratuitous. There is absolutely no reason for it
to occur, other than to titillate. Then, he substitutes a babe with the
body of an 18-year-old to appear as mid-30s Vera. The girl who strides
to Ryan’s bed naked as a jaybird has a body that a woman in her mid-30s
only sees in her fantasies, not in her mirror. Of course we never get to
see Alex’s face when she is totally disrobed. If we did, it would reveal
that Vera was undoubtedly in her trailer while this scene was being
Although the film is full of product placements (Hilton Hotels and
American Airlines stand out), it was surprisingly enjoyable.
December 3, 2009