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 Mar 15

by Tony Medley

The Salvation (9/10): The traditions of Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns and Fred Zinnemann and Carl Foreman’s “High Noon” permeate this violent tale of revenge and retribution set in the Old West. Starring Danish superstar Mads Mikkelsen, aided by fine performances by the entire cast, especially Eva Green, who utters not a word, the tension crackles throughout, highlighted by crisp editing, fine cinematography, and a wonderful score.

Kingsman: The Secret Service (8/10): Director Matthew Vaughn has done an excellent job of keeping the action moving throughout this entertaining thriller/spoof of the James Bond genre. Although marred by repeated scenes of disgusting graphic violence, he mixes action and humor well. Colin Firth gives his usual excellent performance and Taron Egerton shows himself to be a fine talent.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (8/10): Bollywood comes to Hollywood in this second installment. Enhanced by captivating performances by the cast of senior citizens and the spectacular color that typifies Bollywood, this is another touching winner, closing with a rousing Bollywood dance.

Deli Man (8/10): This excellent documentary tells the story of 160 years of tradition of the Jewish delicatessen by profiling the story of Ziggy Gruber, a Yiddish speaking French trained chef and third generation delicatessen man, who operates Kenny and Ziggy’s in Houston, Texas.  Along the way we are introduced to other delis around the world like Nate and Al’s and Cantor’s in Los Angeles. Also interviewed are prominent connoisseurs of Deli, like Jerry Stiller, Alan Dershowitz, and Larry King.

Merchants of Doubt (7/10): If you pay attention to this extremely well made propaganda supporting the idea that the earth is warming due to the actions of mankind, you will recognize that the filmmakers are doing exactly what the point of the film criticizes, dishonestly manipulating opinion.

McFarland USA (5/10): Even though heartwarming, this far too long rehash of an oft-told tale germinating with 1955’s “The Blackboard Jungle” about a teacher who gets the most out of reluctant students is burdened by a torpid lack of pace and an unnecessary Hollywood backstory that is totally bogus and detracts from the real story.

Focus (4/10): Stuck in a movie that clearly thinks it is far more scintillating than it really is, Will Smith and Margot Robbie (the naked blonde in “The Wolf of Wall Street”) lack even a scintilla of chemistry, mouth lines that fall far short of being funny or clever, and perform deeds that strain credulity beyond the breaking point, leading up to an ending that is nothing short of absurd.

Jupiter Ascending (2/10): The only reason to see this movie is to watch the 3-D and the special effects but, good as they are, they are certainly not worth 127 minutes trapped in a theater with Channing Tatum and this story. Even worse is watching Oscar®-winner Eddie Redmayne muddle through a role he will certainly want to forget, not unlike Paul Newman who was always trying to run away from his performance in 1954’s “The Silver Chalice.”

Fifty Shades of Grey (2/10): Lowlighted by the abysmal casting of maladroit Jamie Dornan in the title role as an unconvincing, indeed laughable, entrepreneur/sexual dominator, except for the nudity this is the least erotic soft core porn film one could imagine. Dakota Johnson does a lot of moaning and groaning leading me to visualize a director wearing plus fours with a megaphone out of camera range, yelling, "Moan!" and "Groan!" The idea of sitting through two sequels is almost more than one can bear.

Seventh Son (1/10): How could two Oscar®-winners like Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore sign on for special effects-laden crapola like this? My advice to the filmmakers? Reap as much as possible out of the opening weekend, before people can spread the word, and get out of town fast.