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 2010

by Tony Medley

Joan Rivers Ė A Piece of Work (10/10): Itís hard for me to listen to Joan Rivers without smiling and laughing, even when what sheís saying isnít that funny in and of itself. This is the story of Rivers today, filmed over a 14 month period, beginning on her 75th birthday and finishing in the summer of 2009. It is frank. She tells it like it is and nakedly reveals her inner feelings about her life. It contains archival clips of her appearances as a young woman with people like Johnny Carson and Jack Paar. But it also contains clips of her contemporary appearances on the road, some of which had me laughing uncontrollably.

The Karate Kid (10/10): Even though this film exaggerates the fighting sounds to make the fights far more violent than they are, this is enormously entertaining. While Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith, Will Smithís son, give fine performances, it is the sparkling performances of Zhenwei Wang as the bully and Wenwen Han, who has a smile that rivals those of Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, as Smithís love interest that make this something special.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (8/10): This is what the movies used to be, an action film that doesnít take itself seriously and is a lot of fun. Jake Gyllenhaal, a handsome dude whose parkour puts one in mind of Douglas Fairbanks, combines with his gorgeous leading lady, Gemma Arterton, to evade the people chasing him. But the best of this is the creation of the fictional city of Alamut out of a dusty, unpaved village, twenty kilometers southwest of Marrakesh. Production designer Wolf Kroeger turned it into a huge city containing a magnificent square with a Taj MahalĖlike palace rising 50 feet above the ground. Streets abound with mind-blowing architectural and decorative detail.

Killers (7/10): Director Robert Luketic has taken a pathetically weak script with a pitifully contrived romantic setup, and made them into something entertaining. Helped by strong comedic performances by Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl, the movie picks up after they move into suburbia and everyone seems out to kill them.

Get Him to the Greek (3/10): Although this is bursting with crude language, vomit, prolific drug use, infidelity, and generally low class manners and morals, all staples of producer Judd Apatow, the production values, color, and cinematography are first class. The concert scenes are very good, as is Russell Brandís acting, reprising his role, as an outrageous rocker from 2008ís Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I thought that with the enjoyable Funny People and Year One last year Apatow had discarded his attempt to lower humor to the lowest gutter available, and had finally started making thoughtful films about and for adults; apparently not.

The A Team (3/10): Iím a big fan of producer Steve Cannell, who created some of the best TV shows of all time, like The Rockford Files. But his biggest show, The A-Team, which saved NBC from bankruptcy, was not one of my favorites. This conversion to cinema is shockingly hackneyed for someone of Cannellís talent. Millions of bullets are shot without ever hitting anyone, but break lots of windows. Replete with expensive special effects, the performances are forgettable, although women might enjoy the constant shots of shirtless Bradley Cooper. To his credit, Cannell keeps crude language out of the film.

Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (1/10): I didnít think Iíd soon see a slower movie about the putrid way a Russian artist treated his loving wife than last yearís The Last Station. I was wrong.