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.
The American (7/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 105 minutes.
Not for children.
In this, Jack (George Clooney), is a weapons expert
who constructs guns for assassins. But he is also a sociopathic killer.
In a memorable scene his cold-bloodedness is established in the first
Someone, identified only as “The Swedes,” is out to
kill Jack, so his controller, Pavel (Johan Leysen), tells him to hide
out in Abruzzo, a mountainous region of Italy located east of Rome,
which introduces the main character in the film, the Italian
countryside. Marin Ruhe, the Director of Photography, makes this very
quiet film much more entertaining by the way he shoots the quaint
neo-medieval village and romantic locations.
Based on Martin Booth’s novel A Very Private
Gentleman, the script (Rowan Jaffe) is not overloaded with words and
we are never told for whom Jack works. For some reason the title has
been changed so that the protagonist (a shadowy character in the book)
is highlighted as an “American,” maybe to satisfy Clooney’s leftwing
political philosophy. Why else change the title, except to convey some
Jack is a brooding, Hamletesque character who
clearly has a lot on his mind but doesn’t say much. As he’s hiding away,
Pavel sends him a beauty, Mathilde (Thekla Reuten), for whom Pavel wants
Jack to build a rifle so that she can use it to kill someone. That
someone is unidentified (in the book Jack, nee Clark, thinks it might be
Yasser Arafat, but the book was written 10 years ago).
There are lots and lots of scenes of Jack thinking,
Jack walking, Jack building a gun, and Jack brooding. Given the lack of
action, director Anton Corbijn does an admirable job of keeping the pace
up since we are never told exactly what’s going on, although clearly
something is not as it should be.
Fortunately for the men in the audience it’s not a
film where you have to sit for almost two hours and just look at
Clooney, because he gets involved with a prostitute, Clara (Violante
Placido), who is not shy about doffing her clothes. There are several
sex scenes and another in the river that make the film something more
than just Clooney as eye candy for women.
Readers of my column know the low regard I have for
trailers that tell the whole story, but I was astonished to watch a film
clip teaser on TV that shows the surprising twist climax of the film,
the moment towards which it has been building for an hour and a half. If
that’s in the trailer there’s really no need to sit through the film
unless you just want to look at Clooney and Placido, but gazing at
Placido’s equipment might be worth the price of admission; not a
horrible way to spend a couple of hours.