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.  

Flawless (10/10)

by Tony Medley

Running Time 105 minutes

There are so many terrible and mediocre films made today. These are the films that the Academy Awards honor. The name should be changed to Academy Awards for mediocrity.

So when I sit through a film and slowly come to the conclusion that I’m seeing something special, something well made, well-written, well-acted, and well-directed, I start to get a tingling going up my spine. It generally comes after around 30-40 minutes and I find that the film which has started well is getting better. Those tingles started in my spine after thirty minutes of this exceptional thriller.

Hobbs (Michael Caine) is a lowly, deferential janitor at London Diamond (Lon Di), which monopolizes the world trade in diamonds. Laura Quinn (Demi Moore) is a top executive and the only woman in the bunch of stuffed shirt execs who run London Diamond, the world’s largest marketer of diamonds. Hobbs tips her off that she’s about to be dumped. Then he enlists her reluctant support in his plan to pull a heist against Lon Di. Since he has been a basically invisible presence for decades, he has knowledge that allows him to plan what appears to him to be the perfect crime.

Soon Laura comes to the attention of Detective Finch (Lambert Wilson), who is attracted to Laura, but also suspects her.

Michael Radford has taken a terrific script by Edward A. Anderson and directed a masterpiece here. His minimal use of effective music and the absence of music in some key scenes heighten the tension à la Hitchcock. This is a movie that takes its time. As the tension builds, Radford doesn’t rush things, allowing the story to patiently progress.

Caine and Moore execute their roles effortlessly.  Says Radford, “He’s perfect for this role. It’s not really a stretch for him to play a 73-year-old Cockney geezer because that’s what he is!”

As for Moore, she underplays her low key role as the dubious accomplice, a spinster who lost her lover to World War II, to perfection. Hobbs recognizes that she is vulnerable because she is an over-achieving woman in a man’s world who is about to get dumped. As such she is torn between participating in what seems a hare-brained scheme with Hobbs which would torpedo her career, and getting vengeance.

Radford rhapsodizes about all that was happening in the ‘60s, but he concludes, “The only bad thing was, it was a terrible period for music, thank God The Beatles came along!” Bad period for music? Has Radford never heard of folk rock, Dylan, Baez, The Mommas and The Poppas, Simon & Garfunkel and the myriad other musical geniuses of that decade? The ‘60s produced probably the best music of any decade, forget The Beatles.

But Radford’s poor music judgment or knowledge has nothing to do with the quality of the film he has produced. The cinematography (Richard Greatrex) and production design (Sophie Becher) evocatively use the principal location of Luxembourg to capture the ambience of London, circa 1960.

As with the better heist films, this one concludes with a “reveal,” something you might not be expecting. I didn’t think it was that stunning, but I was paying attention. Regardless, it adds to the fun of the film. The better the movie, the less that needs to be said. Forgive me, but this film is close to flawless.