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. The Second Edition sold equally well. This updated Third Edition, published in September, 2012,  includes 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.  


Arbitrage (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 100 minutes.

OK for children.

Richard Gere returns to the screen a few years after the release of The Double, which is probably the worst film with which he has ever been associated. Here he picked wisely because this is an interesting tale of wrongdoing on Wall Street very loosely influenced by Bernie Madoff.

Written and directed by 25 year-old rookie Nicholas Jarecki, it's not surprising that the verisimilitude is sorely lacking as to the financial machinations in which Gere becomes involved. But this isn't really a story of Wall Street, it's a character study, intended to show that big financiers are morally corrupt. While that is a dubious premise, it probably has more truth in it than many would like to admit (in addition to Madoff, and just as one example of many, Richard Grasso, the head of the New York Stock Exchange, became notorious when it was revealed that he had received a "golden parachute" pay package worth almost $140 million due to the largesse of the hand-picked compensation committee consisting mainly of representatives from NYSE-listed companies over which Grasso had regulatory authority as head of the Exchange). Jarecki backed this up by casting Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, as James Mayfield, the industrialist who is trying to buy Gere's company. Carter is a journalist who has never been accused of being fair and balanced, although to give him credit he doesn't try to hide his bias when one reads his editorials. He does give a good performance.

Gere gives a performance consistent with those considered the best of his career, like the one he gave in Unfaithful (2002). Also sparkling are Brit Marling as his daughter who has been bamboozled by his financial tricks, Tim Roth as the detective hot on Richard's tail,  Laetitia Casta as Richard's mistress, and Jimmy Grant as the only person to whom Richard feels he can turn when something really terrible happens.

Jarecki directs with an acute perception of pace, which makes this film, which is mostly talk, exceptional.