Tag Archive | books

Quick Review: Cold Eyes / Updates

Hello, world! Happy Thursday. Here’s a quick review for you and some updates on what may be coming next.

Since I love thrillers, I was stoked to watch the spy/heist movie Cold Eyes starring Jung Woo Sung (A Moment to Remember) , Han Hyo Joo (W), and Sol Kyung Goo (The Tower). Although a well done movie, and awesomely intense in parts, I found it too darkly lit and too slow. In addition, although the acting on the one hand was great, it was largely expressionless, which suits the characters’ line of work, but doesn’t make it so exciting to watch.

Detective Ha Yoon Joo (Han) is a new recruit for a special police surveillance team. She’s really good at the job, mainly due to having a photographic memory, or something close to it, and it’s amusing to watch as she grows with each case and how her supervisor trains her. Their main quarry for surveillance is catching the man and/or team in charge of various heists happening around Seoul. James (Jung) is a hard man who also has our sympathy, because he’s clearly ready to get out of the criminal business. My favorite character was definitely Chief detective Hwang (Sol), and he would be an awesome boss to have, pushing you to do your best.

The biggest takeaway I took from the movie was just how smart anyone in spying and high level crimes like this has to be. I don’t have the skills to do either, and if the real life surveillance teams are at this level, I am impressed, hats off. Other than that, Cold Eyes didn’t really bring anything new to the drama and the script was too vague to really be memorable.

Updates

Okay, time for some reading/watching updates. Don’t talk to me about writing! TfD3 is happening, it’s totally happening, it’s just going at a snail’s pace, as most of my writing goes.

Reading: Still working through my fall picks, but I doubt I’m going to review any more of those at this point, so let me share some choices I have for this year.

Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis: It’s been awhile since I’ve read the whole series and, come to think of it, I’m sure I’ve actually read the whole series!

The Wings of a Falcon by Cynthia Voigt: Been meaning to re-read this for awhile now, and I’m determined to finally do so this winter, if only other stories would stop distracting me, already! It’s a great tale about orphans rising to greatness in her fictional world of The Kingdom. It now goes by a different title, which is sad to me.

A Daughter’s Devotion/The Laird’s Inheritance by George MacDonald: This one I picked up at a thrift store last summer. It’s a giant volume of two books and is Christian fiction as well as a slice of Scotland’s literary history.

The Wanderer by Fanny Burney: Although way longwinded, Burney’s stories are pretty entertaining. I can see why Jane Austen was a fan of hers. Not sure this will top Evelina, which the BBC need to make into a drama, already!, but I’ll give it a go.

Watching: Haven’t been watching a lot lately, but I’m hooked on Tale of the Nine-Tailed starring Lee Dong Wook (Goblin). I think Lee should only do action/fantasy from now on, as he’s so much better at it than in real life dramas where he seems to suck the energy out of the screen. In both this one and Goblin, he brings energy. Full review coming next week.

Other dramas I plan to try: Signal, the Japanese version, which I think came first. The Korean one was so awesome, it will be fun to check out the original. Other thrillers I want to see are Train, Goodbye Mr. Black and Awaken. Haven’t found any new RomComs that have caught my eye yet.

Politics: So the US now has a fraudulent president who’s also going senile. It’s sad, really sad for our country, but the fight for freedom and fair elections continues. This is not over by a long shot and I’m really glad that whatever Q was it woke a lot of people up to the awful corruption around us.

More reading: I knew I posted this too soon! Also plan to reach The Once and Future King by T.H. White as I’ve never read it and like the whole King Arthur tale, and also Wizard, the Life and Time of Nikola Tesla, which I bought about ten years ago and also haven’t read yet.

The Limbo of War: Heidegger’s Glasses

Summer is the best time of year for rifling through the local library for great, but as yet, personally undiscovered reads.  Heidegger’s Glasses by Thaisa Frank has just the sort of cover to grab my attention–rumpled envelope with the Third Reich eagles, faded letter peeking out behind and a shadowed women venturing out across a no man’s land expanse of meadow.

Having never been in a war, I don’t know what they’re like, but my impression from reading about World War Two is that is was a lot of violence and a lot of waiting.  People were in limbo and waiting for their lives to start again.  Heidegger’s Glasses catalogs wonderfully this “falling out of the world” that happens when ordinary things are turned upside down.  In this case is it the Nazi regime that is ludicrously obsessed with making things what they are not, an old mine shaft transforms into a street of dreams and letters written to the dead.  The writers or “Scribes” barely escaped the gas chambers and wear the fur coats of those who didn’t.  These people live lives of waiting for something to happen, for Goebbels to come and shoot them all, or for a miracle to end the war.  Only Elie, the leader of this group, seems to understand the urgency at stake as she tries to save one person after another.

Heidegger’s Glasses is simultaneously heartwrenching and uplifting.  It has the same odd sense of limbo I got while reading another masterpiece about World War Two, Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard (this is my all time favorite novel).  The characters are stuck in a pretend world that is a quarter what they left behind, a quarter of what’s ahead and the rest a strange dreamland where glasses aren’t glasses but are something on which the entire future of the Nazi regime hangs.  Parts of the story seem like something out of Indiana Jones (he always liked fighting Nazis) with a street underground, along with a house and a painted on sky, a man who lives in a “shoebox” and mulls over his crystal balls, a woman who is never quite herself, and letter after letter written to the dead.  The philosopher Heidegger, once he appears, is infuriating, a character who shows best just by being himself, that philosophy and other “theoretical” university pursuits have little or no value in a real world where real people who are dying need real answers and real fighters, not someone who will theorize them into their graves.

My favorite aspect of the novel is that it shows what a thorough sham the Third Reich became.  They were beyond ridiculous in trying to justify their actions and to pretend that they were the least bit civilized.  A cell is not a cell, no it’s a waiting room you have to reside in forever.  It’s perfectly acceptable to have seances while Russia is beating down our door.  There is a certain stupidness about evil that will never allow it to fully triumph.  Mostly its stupidness in not knowing that good is where it’s at.  Heidegger’s Glasses is a pleasantly paced read that will get you thinking of the merits of philosophy, power, and humanity in general.  It shows that sometimes even good people have to fight fire with fire in order to win.  It shows just how human we all are, and how helpless we can be when faced with a great political mechanism we cannot control.