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.  


Ruby Sparks (9/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 104 minutes

OK for children.

This is a romcom that is deeper than one generally expects for the genre. Written by star Zoe Kazan, who plays Ruby, it's based on the Greek myth of Pygmalion about a man who controls a woman. Here it's Paul Dano, a blocked writer, who starts writing about a woman when, viola! she suddenly appears in his life in the flesh. He finds he can control her by writing about her. Kazan not only gives a charming, emotional performance, her script shows she has dazzling talent as a writer. She actually wrote it with Dano, her boyfriend in real life, in mind as the star.

The cast is A-1, highlighted by a bravura performance by Antonio Banderas, who, according to co-director Jonathan Dayton (with Valerie Faris), was cast as the boyfriend of Dano's mother, Annette Bening, because they thought Antonio would "drive Paul crazy." Banderas hasn't been seen much lately, and that's a shame. He's a fine actor and this performance is Oscar®-quality.

There is, unfortunately, a "however." Paul is painted as an antisocial guy who is without hope when dealing with women. The way Dano acts throughout most of the movie he is basically inept with women. Then, near the end of the movie, he is at a party and he meets his former girlfriend (Deborah Ann Woll, who gives a surprisingly effective performance in a very short appearance), who is drop dead gorgeous. She also apparently loved him and was devastated when Paul dumped her. This is so incongruous with Paul's character as developed throughout the movie, that it throws the entire concept of the movie off kilter.

Even with this inconsistency, though, this is a sweet movie that contains many laugh-out-loud lines, highlighted by wonderful performances by Kazan and Dano, artfully directed by Dayton and Faris.