The first and second editions of Complete Idiot's Guide to Bridge by H. Anthony Medley comprised the fastest selling beginning bridge book, going through more than 10 printings. This updated Third Edition 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.  


Thumbnails Feb 14

by Tony Medley

IMAX Journey to the South Pacific (10/10): Narrated by Cate Blanchett the astonishingly beautiful and colorful photography overwhelms the interesting story, amplified by the huge screen with images so sharp and clear they boggle the mind. The colors of the reef and hundreds of different species of fish are so varied and gorgeous that it leaves you crying for more. I rarely want to see movies more than once, but I canít wait to see this 40 minute movie again.

The Pretty One (9/10): This small indie comes close to perfection. Itís a sweet story of a young girl who feels unappreciated by the world and how she deals with it, which is to assume the identity of her twin sister when she dies in an automobile accident. Zoe Kazan, who made such a big hit starring in Ruby Sparks (2012), which she wrote, gives a touching performance as the surviving twin (well, sheís both twins but the other one dies in the first 20 minutes). If youíve ever felt unappreciated (and who hasnít?), this movie will strike home and it does so because of Kazanís performance.

Timís Vermeer (5/10): Billionaire Tim Jenison tries to prove that Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer accomplished his paintings through the use of a camera obscura rather than freehand by doing the same thing himself. But do you really want to sit there and watch a guy paint a painting for 80 minutes backed by monotonously repetitive music? What it turns out to be is an ego trip for a billionaire. One genius should respect another. Bottom line is just as many believe Shakespeare wrote Hamlet and Julius Caesar and all the others, not some contemporary like Christopher Marlowe, itís reasonable to believe that Vermeerís use of color and creation of photo-like detail came from his genius, not a camera obscura. If, on the other hand, it was through the use of camera obscura, more power to him for harnessing the power of technology to create great art, and, to give Tim credit, he does express this thought in the movie.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (5/10): This prequel based upon the Tom Clancy character (Clancy had nothing do with this story) is so superficial that it rapidly becomes something like a test to see if the viewer can guess what worn-out plot device will be tried next, using every clichť known to Hollywood as it tells its flimsy story so full of plotholes one needs to tread carefully for fear of breaking an ankle. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the ending is particularly clumsy, in terms of realistic timing, at least. It was almost as if they were trying to wrap it up and only had five more minutes to get in a conclusion. Despite his ineffective directing, Branagh does give a good, if a trifle too Shakespearean, performance as the bad buy, Viktor Cherevin, overwhelming another wooden performance by Kevin Costner in a role that seems puzzlingly minor for one of his reputation.

Ride Along (3/10): This is so silly, so ridiculous, so unfunny, so hackneyed that it would have been rejected as a B movie back in the Ď40s. Ice Cube was really funny in 21 Jump Street (2012) where his deadpan humor as an always angry police boss was wonderfully effective. Here, however he reprises that role as he is always angry but heís not funny. Heís given no help by a script that seems to have been written by a community of writers. Multiple writing credits are always a bad sign, and the omen is fulfilled by this movie that pictures alleged funnyman Kevin Hart as being ridiculously stupid and tries to masquerade that as humor. Itís not funny and neither is this movie.