What REALLY goes on in a job interview? Find out in the new revision of "Sweaty Palms: The Neglected Art of Being Interviewed" (Warner Books) by Tony Medley, updated for the world of the Internet . Over 500,000 copies in print and the only book on the job interview written by an experienced interviewer, one who has conducted thousands of interviews. This is the truth, not the ivory tower speculations of those who write but have no actual experience. "One of the top five books every job seeker should read," says Hotjobs.com. Now available on Kindle.

Thumbnails September 2011

by Tony Medley

Crazy, Stupid Love (9/10): This is a film that restores my faith in romantic comedies. What makes it tick is the exceptional acting, highlighted by Emma Stone abetted Ryan Gosling. It's a good, entertaining film for the first hour, but then when Emma takes center stage, it is drop dead funny. The other standout is Jonah Bobo, who plays the son of Steve Carell and Julianne Moore, whose deadpan playing is spot on. On the negative side, the maudlin ending segued the film from a fine comedy into something different, breaking the fine comedic pace of the movie up until then.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (9/10): The true star of this prequel is the performance capture technology that enables Andy Serkis, who plays Caesar the Chimpanzee, to really look like an ape with intelligence. It's told from the POV of the apes, sort of a modern Call of the Wild, Jack London's classic story of an Alaskan dogsled dog. There are some good performances by humans, too; James Franco as Caesar's adoptive father, and John Lithgow as Franco's father who is suffering from dementia. Director Rupert Wyatt keeps the pace up throughout the film, aided by a smart script by Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa.

Brighton Rock (8/10): On the surface, this might appear to be just another crime film. But when seen as an allegory of the fight between good and evil, and from the standpoint of author Graham Greene's Catholicism, it takes on a completely different appearance. Pinkie (Sam Riley) is a metaphor for the devil. His hair is even spiked in certain scenes. The girl he pursues, Rose (Andrea Riseborough), is mankind. The story isn't really about Pinkie's rise in the criminal world, it's the story of the battle for Rose's soul between Pinkie and Ida (Helen Mirren in a spectacular performance), as the Church. This is not an easy film to watch, but if one accepts the allegory and doesn't mind some deep thinking, it's a fascinating experience.

Chasing Madoff (8/10): This is the story of Harry Markopolos, who figured out Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme a decade before Bernie's fall. Harry gave chapter and verse to the SEC, headed by Republican Chris Cox, who ignored him. So did The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Barron's, and CNBC. Despite low production values and misguided phony staging of scenes that diminishes its verisimilitude, I give this a high mark because it's interesting and enlightening. If any one of these pillars of the industry had listened to Markopolos' voice crying in the wilderness, a lot of trusting investors could have avoided being gored by this avaricious sociopath.

The Help (7/10): This is an entertaining chick flick, even though it's almost unbearably heavy-handed. Despite a clumsy script totally lacking in subtlety, Emma Stone gives another magnificent performance. She's aided by good direction by Tate Taylor and stellar performances by Allison Janney, Viola Davis, Cicely Tyson, and Bryce Dallas Howard, in an award-quality rendition as the villainess.

The Change Up (5/10): A good idea destroyed by abundant sophomoric scenes of people going to the bathroom, groin jokes, and profanity.

One Day (3/10): An agonizing ordeal for a guy, but Rachel Portman's music is terrific and Anne Hathaway gives a fine performance.

Mozart's Sister (0/10): Writer/producer/director René Féret becomes the poster child for nepotism by manning the film with every person in his family, including himself. Unfortunately, none understand the word "emotion," reciting lines like they are reading them. Worse, this is a costume drama set in 18th Century France, but Féret uses film stock that looks like it was old washed out Trucolor film discarded by Republic Pictures in the late '40s. In French.