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 November 2010

by Tony Medley

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (10/10): This third film of the Millennium trilogy is brilliantly directed by Daniel Alfredson. Ulf Ryberg’s screenplay follows the book with some exceptions, none of which affected the enjoyment of the film. The exceptional score by Jacob Groth, who composed the scores for all three, adds immeasurably because this film has less action and more talk than the other two, due to the fact that the protagonist, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), is either in the hospital or in jail and refusing to speak for most of the film. Because of the detailed history of what came before, anyone watching this de novo without knowledge of the first two books or films will be at sea.

The Social Network (10/10): Although this leaves the viewer in the dark as to how Facebook turned from a popular college site into a multibillion dollar company, Jesse Eisenberg, as founder Mark Zuckerberg, gives such a compelling performance under David Fincher’s direction, that it’s impossible not to think that this will be a multiple Oscar®-winner. The only real villain writer Alan Sorkin paints is of Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), who was the genius who started Napster (the peer-sharing site that ran afoul of the music industry), but didn’t make any money out of it. While Sorkin treats Zuckerberg gently, he’s not so gentle with Parker. This is puzzling since from what I could piece together, it was Parker who had the know-how and connections with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to change Facebook from a non-revenue producer into something that is now worth $25 billion or more, according to some estimates. In fact, Parker became its President when it was incorporated in 2004, but was forced to leave the company when accused of cocaine possession, an incident touched upon in the film.

RED (9/10): Charming performances by Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, and Bruce Willis highlight this tongue-in-cheek comedic thriller about “Retired but Extremely Dangerous” (ergo, RED) CIA operatives with people out to kill them. Director Robert Schwentke uses a deft touch to keep the danger palpable, but all the while I had a smile on my face.

Secretariat (8/10): Although director Randall Wallace went “Hollywood” in showing the three Triple Crown races by using phony Hollywood recreations for the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes instead of archival films and eschewed a long shot showing the huge 31-length margin of victory in the Belmont, something I will never forget, and concentrating on close-ups of a horse running alone, this is still a compelling story with wonderful performances. Diane Lane + John Malkovich + Secretariat = 2010’s Triple Crown.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (7/10): This is more a love story between Carey Mulligan and a miscast Shia La Beouf than it is an intelligent examination of what happened on Wall Street to cause Bear Stearns (Keller Zabel Investments in the film, run by Frank Langella) to be thrown to the wolves and the resulting government bailouts. While I don’t expect a Hollywood insider like director Oliver Stone to understand what happened or to lay the blame for the financial collapse of 2008 at the feet of two Democrats, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), “mark to market,” and a bunch of politicians and political appointees in the Clinton, Bush, and Obama Administrations, I did hope for a more knowledgeable setup than what is presented here, which is basically incomprehensible. But this is a movie, and the financial problem is little more than a McGuffin to introduce interesting characters like Michael Douglas’s Gordon Gekko and Josh Brolin’s Bretton James, both of whom give sparkling performances.