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 Oct 15

by Tony Medley

The Martian (9/10): Highlighted by terrific special effects, 3D, and CGI, this tale of Matt Damon finding himself abandoned totally alone on Mars is much more tense and exciting than one might imagine, despite its 134 minute runtime.

Everest (8/10): The worst day in the history of attempts to scale Mount Everest occurred in 1996. Serendipitously, journalist Jon Krakauer was on the expedition, and he wrote a bestselling book, “Into Thin Air” about it. This is a brilliant movie about the events, made in mind-boggling IMAX with beautiful cinematography and the best 3D yet seen. It shows how harrowing, dangerous, and cold mountain climbing is. The only downside is that the ending drags on far too long.

Black Mass (8/10): Last year a documentary told of psychopathic Boston crime boss Whitey Bulger, but concentrated mostly on the corruption of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston. This film, with Johnny Depp in an Oscar®-worthy performance as Bulger, concentrates on what a cold-blooded, evil person he was. The scene between Depp and Julianne Nicholson playing the wife of corrupt U.S. Attorney Joel Edgerton is as disturbing as any of the scenes in Silence of the Lambs between Anthony Hopkins and Jody Foster, and as memorable as Jimmy Cagney smashing a grapefruit in the face of Mae Clarke in The Public Enemy. Of all the Oscar® nominations this film is sure to get, one should go to Nicholson off just this one scene.

Sicario (7/10): Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, and Emily Blunt star in this somewhat convoluted, difficult to follow film about a crew of agents who is just trying to stir things up so that someone will lead them to the real bad guy deep in Mexico. Like lots of thrillers, it asks the viewer to believe that the good guys are basically invulnerable and the bad guys are just there to die in hordes of bullets being sprayed at them while the good guys always avoid the killing shots, even though they are coming from scores of automatic weapons. The result of all this is that there really isn’t any tension in terms of our heroes ever being in any danger. There is a lot of cold-blooded killing that many might find off-putting.

Labyrinth of Lies (8/10): Because this is basically a fictitious story based on true events, it’s not a documentary. But it is fine movie-making and educates the public on an important event in Germany’s history. It might be hard to believe now, with all of this so far in the past, but it took a long time for those SS monsters responsible for what happened at Auschwitz to be brought to justice. In fact, according to this truthful movie, it wasn’t until 1958 that someone started to look into what happened a decade and a half prior. While based on a background of true events, the protagonist, Johann Radman (Alexander Fehling) is a composite of three public prosecutors who went after the Nazis who ran Auschwitz. Prosecutor General Fritz Bauer (Gert Voss, who died on July 13, 2014) and journalist Thomas Gnielka (André Szymski) are real people who did exist and did participate in the events shown. In German but the subtitles are white with no borders and when the background is white, are difficult to read.

The Transporter Refueled (7/10): Talk about your mindless entertainment! The acting in this thing is worse than deplorable. The story is as bad as the acting and the script. But the French Riviera locale is beautiful and the story is just stupid enough to hold your interest with one ridiculous fight followed by an absurd car chase after another. Had the acting been any better, the film wouldn’t have worked. But it is somehow strangely enjoyable.