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 April 11

by Tony Medley

Jane Eyre (10/10): What makes this film work is the heartbreakingly emotional acting by Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. Intentionally made to look plain, Wasikowska exhibits Jane’s feisty spirit and compassionate, forgiving heart, in portraying the highly intelligent 19th-Century woman who overcame a horrible upbringing with very little love to still make her life worth living, even if it’s just as a governess. The countryside, with its craggy rocks and bracken, is a powerful character in the film, with vast shots of forbidding landscapes, especially when Jane is running away.

Winter in Wartime (10/10): In this film of Dutch author Jan Terlouw’s semi-autobiographical 1972 novel about Nazi Occupation and Resistance 14-year-old Martijn Lakemeier starts the film as a relatively carefree young teenager using the war as a plaything. But things get serious when he discovers a downed British flyer, Jamie Campbell Bower, who is hiding from the Nazis, which makes him come of age quickly. Martin involves his sister, Melody Klaver, a nurse, which leads to further complications. Brilliantly acted and filmed, this is a captivating film about how World War II affected a Dutch family in a small village. Said Terlouw as he watched the filming, “It was true to life and very emotional.” In Dutch/English/German.

Red Riding Hood (8/10): This is an entertaining movie with fine performances all around, especially by Julie Christie as the Grandmother with big eyes and Amanda Seyfried as Red. Director Catherine Hardwicke (“Twilight”) and writer David Johnson do a good job of leading the viewer to and fro before the final dénouement. The producers made a big mistake advertising this as a scary horror film, which it’s not. It’s almost as if they couldn’t figure out whether they were making a “Twilight” knock-off or a horror film, when, in reality what they were making was a mystery (who is the werewolf and why is it doing what it’s doing?) helped by mystical cinematography (Mandy Walker) and production design (Thomas E. Sanders) of the isolated forest village.

Battle Los Angeles (7/10): The pace of this mindless action film is fast enough and the goal of victory so seemingly elusive that it’s a slam-bang adventure, notwithstanding the meager story and character development. Despite the title, it’s set entirely in the city of Santa Monica. It can stand as homage to the U. S. Marines, led by a convincing Aaron Eckhart channeling John Wayne.

The Lincoln Lawyer (7/10): Matthew McConaughey contributes more than his bare chest and sparkling smile in this relatively satisfying thriller based on Michael Connelly’s 2005 bestseller. Set in Los Angeles, as usual, the city is a major character. Contrasting glitz and grime, this shows a city that’s hot, humid, dusty, dirty, and sometimes trashy. While the pace is pretty good, the film is not up to the book. Appearances by Oscar®-winner Marisa Tomei and Oscar®-nominee William H. Macy are wasted in roles so minor they are little more than cameos.

Certified Copy (7/10): “My Dinner With Andre” (1981), morphs into “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” (1966), and ends up more like the quintessential French Art film, the 1961 inscrutable  “Last Year at Marienbad.” French/Italian/English

Hall Pass (0/10): This had three strikes against it in the first five minutes. Written & directed by The Farrellys who have made a career of confusing raunch for comedy; strike one. Owen Wilson’s four year old son refers to his mother’s “fat ass;” strike two. The presence of Joy Behar in the cast; strike three. As if that weren’t enough, a man defecates onscreen, another masturbates onscreen, and there’s full frontal male nudity which exacerbates a racial stereotype. It goes downhill from there.

Drive Angry (0/10): Makes “Hall Pass” look like “Gone With the Wind.”

Take Me Home Tonight (0/10): Makes one yearn for “Drive Angry.