Out of print for more than 30 years, now available for the first time as an eBook, this is the controversial story of John Wooden's first 25 years and first 8 NCAA Championships as UCLA Head Basketball Coach. This is the only book that gives a true picture of the character of John Wooden and the influence of his assistant, Jerry Norman, whose contributions Wooden  ignored and tried to bury.

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. The players tell their their stories in their own words.

Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information. Also available on Kindle.

Side Effects (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time 118 minutes.

OK for children.

This is a neat little thriller that reminded me of 1993's Malice, a Nicole Kidman vehicle that presently rests in 1,418th place on the all-time list of domestic grosses. In other words, not a lot of people saw it. And that's unfortunate because, written by Aaron Sorkin, it started out as one thing and completely turned 180 in the middle and became something else, thoroughly entertaining.

In this, Emily (Rooney Mara) plays a strange woman married to Martin (Channing Tatum) who has just been released from prison after serving a four-year term for insider trading. She seems depressed so she consults psychiatrist Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) for help. He prescribes a new drug, for which he is being paid to conduct a clinical trial.

Alas, things spin out of control, affecting the lives of everyone, including another psychiatrist Dr. Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones), whom Dr. Banks discovers has treated Emily previously.

Although it's a little long (what modern movie is not?), Steven Soderbergh directs a terrific script by Scott Z. Burns with admirable pace. He gets wonderful performances by Law and Mara.

Just about every year one or two films come out with a ballyhoo that they are noir, when they don't have any of the characteristics of real film noir which came into being in the 40s after World War II. This, on the other hand, is a true noir. Although Burns compares the story to Double Indemnity (1944) and Body Heat (1981), I don't share his reverence for the former, which I think contains one of the corniest scenes of the 40s (the one where Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck have a dialogue in which each starts every sentence with "Sposin'." I cringe every time I see that scene, but it's the one that is always shown when this film is lauded. The latter, however, is as fine a modern noir as has been filmed since the close of the '40s. Maybe Side Effects doesn't rise to that level, but it comes close enough to be a highly satisfying entertainment.

A fine thriller doesn't need a review that tells anything more about the plot. All a critic need do when reviewing a film like this is to give an accolade that it is probably as good and thought-provoking a thriller as one will see this year. To write much more would jeopardize being able to watch a story unfold without a clue of what is really going on, which is the best way to watch a movie.

January 28, 2013