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. Available in all bookstores and on Kindle.  


Thumbnails Aug 11

by Tony Medley

Horrible Bosses (8/10): Laugh-out-loud funny, this is brilliantly directed by Seth Gordon, whose previous directorial effort was 2008's entertaining "Four Christmases". Jason Bateman, Charley Day, and Jason Sudeikis have the horrible bosses, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell, respectively. Why they are horrible and hateful is part of the fun. Suffice it to say that Spacey, Aniston and Farrell do wonderful jobs of creating characters that the audience can accept seeing permanently removed from the planet. But Bateman, Day, and Sudeikis aren't the sharpest tacks in the box and give scintillating performances as they bumble their way to try to get rid of their bosses.  They all have their moments that cause audible laughter. While there is a lot of vulgar language in the film that might be jarring to some, it's relatively inoffensive.

Captain America: The First Avenger (8/10): Starting like The Thing (1951) with people investigating the discovery of a mysterious crashed aircraft in an icy wilderness, this quickly segues into a flashback to Nazi German circa World War II with a supervillain, Hugo Weaving, combating Captain America, Chris Evans. While it's all very comic-booky, director Joe Johnston has turned it into a pro-American, entertaining action movie. Evans, Haley Atwell, his love interest, and Stanley Tucci give wonderful performances, but the film pulsates when Weaving is onscreen. Unlike most of the comic book nonsense that makes it to the screen, and despite the trailers that make it look silly, this is a treat. Forget the phony, flat 3D added in post production which substantially mutes the color, however, and see it in 2D with bright color.

The Devil's Double (8/10): Dominic Cooper dominates this compelling biopic in a double role as lunatic Uday Hussein, Saddam's son, and his sensitive, enslaved doppelganger, Latif Yahia, based on Latif's autobiography. The film has some excruciating scenes of torture and sadistic treatment of women, all the more disturbing because the truth was much worse than what's shown. Lovely Ludivine Sagnier deftly plays Uday's inscrutable psychologically tortured mistress and Latif's forbidden lover.

The Guard (7/10): Brendan Gleeson's bravura performance highlights writer/director John Michael McDonagh's talkative, comedic look at police corruption, murder, and drug trafficking in County Galway, Ireland. David Wilmot contributes a sparkling performance as a sociopathic killer.

Tabloid (5/10): Director Errol Morris has Joyce McKinney, Miss Wyoming in the '50s with an IQ of 168, tell in her own words her tawdry tale of how she was pilloried by the British tabloids for kidnapping and raping her lover. This is a strange story about an odd woman told in sometimes black and white and sometimes color by talking heads and archival photos of newspapers.

Zookeeper (3/10): It's hard to believe that a film with talking animals is not OK for children, but this one isn't. The clueless filmmakers have inserted rudeness and bawdy humor and language into a film that should have had a captive audience in young children. The sad part of this dismal production is that the movie has a pretty good moral, to accept yourself for what you are and to be yourself, regardless of what other people think. Unfortunately, in addition to having too much adult-oriented dialogue and situations for children, it's too vacuous for adults.

Friends With Benefits (2/10): This trifle is a pseudo-romantic comedy about two people, Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, who take "lack of chemistry" to another level. One will rarely see more boring bedroom scenes, most of which seem to concentrate on each giving the other oral sex under the sheets. The supporting cast isn't much help except for Richard Jenkins who gives his usual sterling performance and the beautiful and talented Emma Stone whose brief appearance barely qualifies as a cameo.