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 May 10

by Tony Medley

Death at a Funeral (8/10): Even though I had laughed throughout director Frank Oz’s British original in 2007, I was still laughing throughout this hilarious remake. Americans generally don’t do farce as well as the English and French, but director Neil LaBute gets top performances from this cast, headed by James Marsden, Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Martin Lawrence, Ron Glass, Keith David, and Peter Dinklage reprising his role from the original.

Date Night (7/10): Channeling 1970’s “The Out of Towners,” one of my favorite comedies in which Midwesterners Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis took a disastrous trip to New York City, Tina Fey and Steve Carell overcome the first dismal 15 minutes of slice of life dialogue that populate the worst of the chick flicks. After they get all dolled up and con their way into a table at a trendy Manhattan restaurant, their trip into the city rivals the one taken by Lemmon and Dennis 40 years ago. Everything goes awry. James Franco and Mila Kunis sparkle in award-quality performances as a pair of lowlife crooks.

Chloe (7/10): In this remake of the 2003 French thriller, “Nathalie,” Julianne Moore suspects her husband of 25 years, Liam Neeson, of infidelity, so she hires a prostitute, Chloe (Amanda Seyfried), to make contact with him, tempt him, and report back to her, with startling, unforeseen consequences. This is a byzantine, titillating, well-acted, potent exploration of jealousy and desire. Seyfried shows that her lame performance in “Mamma Mia” (2008) was an aberration, because she is appropriately creepy in this. Even so, Moore’s is the performance that shines.

Paper Man (7/10): Even though Emma Stone has found herself in some dreadful movies (like 2008’s “The House Bunny” and 2009’s  “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”), she always managed to give rewarding performances. Finally finding herself starring in a movie with good material, she steals the show from her able cast of Jeff Daniels, Ryan Reynolds, and Lisa Kudrow in this film about two defective people of different generations who develop an uncomfortable camaraderie. Loaded with talent and beauty, Stone is a comer.

Harry Brown (7/10): Michael Caine is at the top of his form as he goes out on his own in a cruel world to gain revenge for the murder of his friend by bunch of London punks. There are some distasteful scenes, but this is a high-tension film, with some violence, that doesn’t let up.

The Joneses (5/10): Burdened by an extremely slow, uninvolving 50 minute setup, this unique tale picks up but then loses it all with a craven Hollywood Ending, despite fine performances by Demi Moore, David Duchovny, Gary Cole, Amber Heard, and Ben Hollingsworth. But despite their good performances, Heard (who teems with sex appeal) and Hollingsworth, at 21 and 25, respectively, are too mature to pass as high school students.

 Who Do You Love (5/10): This is the second disappointing biopic in two years of the Chess brothers who brought black blues to the mainstream. Unfortunately, it ignores lots of wonderful music of Chuck Berry and others and downplays the misdeeds of the Chesses in their management of their disadvantaged black talent.

Clash of the Titans (4/10): It’s appropriate that this is presented in vapid post-production 3-D with washed out color because it’s a vapid, washed out movie. The film is basically just a set piece for the numerous fight scenes that highlight the special effects. But the fights are so predictable and rote that it was difficult to keep my mind from wandering while they were onscreen, which meant most of the time.

The Losers (4/10): This is yet another low-intellect, overly violent, meaningless, albeit action-packed, movie trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator…and succeeding, if that’s any mark of success.

 Casino Jack and the United States of Money (1/10): When writer/director Alex Gibney can make an entire movie about Enron and never once mention the name of Steve Peace, the Democrat California legislator who wrote the law that enabled Enron and caused the whole mess, he doesn’t have the trustworthiness to be believed. That’s only the main flaw of this clumsy, convoluted film about disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He also limits his talking heads interviews to devoted left-wingers. Prominently featured is Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington). Melanie Sloan is hardly unbiased, having worked for John Conyers, the vitriolic leftwing Democrat from Michigan, and Charles Shumer, the partisan Democrat Senator from New York. I wish I could rely on Gibney’s verisimilitude to believe this as shown, but after what he did with Enron, and because he limited the people he chose to showcase to those who all share the same tendentious POV, I can’t. This must be watched with heightened skepticism.