At the end of this year, the SLAMedia Staff took a minute to look back at what we had seen, heard, and enjoyed in 2012. Here are our reviews of the best in Arts & Entertainment from the last year.
Movie: Moonrise Kingdom
This summer, another one of Wes Anderson’s dandy films came out, Moonrise Kingdom. I went to see it in movie theaters in July, and it’s safe to say I was impressed. This movie is about two 12-year olds living on a small island in New England. They meet by chance and take a liking to each other, and through a series of letters the two plan to run away. This is a story of love, rebellion, and friendship. For a very long time, I never knew what to say when people asked me what my favorite movie was. Now the answer is clear: Moonrise Kingdom. I would strongly recommend this deep and incredible movie for everyone. Check out the website here.
~Nomi Martin- Brouillette
Restaurant: Honest Tom’s Taco Shop
On 261 S 44th St in University City, there is a small mexican food place called Honest Toms. I went there and ordered the tacos, which were really good. The selection on the menu only consisted of burritos and tacos, but it’s a good meal at any time of the day. The vibe in the little place is nice with mexican candles and skeletons around the place. It’s a friendly environment and all of the workers are nice. The food was really delicious; although not completely what I’d call “authentic mexican food”, but it’s still really yummy!
Book: Eat, Pray, Love
Eat, Pray, Love is a book that is about a woman who goes on a spiritual journey to find herself again after a nasty divorce that leaves her feeling lifeless. She leaves her whole life behind in New York City to travel to new countries.
The woman travels to three different countries, Italy, India, and Indonesia. She travels to these countries and learns valuable lessons throughout the whole trip. But throughout the whole book she discovers that she has found herself living again and most importantly she is able to love again. This book is reading about a journey but also gives valuable life lessons.
Eat, Pray, Love was recommended by Oprah. This book made me laugh, but also cry. I can connect to the personal struggles the character had during the time. Also it made me reevaluate my life and was I doing anything worthwhile and really living life to the fullest.
Music Album: Babel by Mumford and Sons
On September 25, Mumford and Sons released their second album, Babel. Many people complained that is sounded the same as their previous album, Sigh No More, but I instantly fell in love with it. The entire CD seems to tell a story, not necessarily one with a plot, but one where once I was finished, I felt satisfied. In particular, I love the song “I Will Wait” because it never fails to fill me with a sense of warmth, as it is a song that instills hope. Another personal favorite is the track “Below My Feet” because of the inspiring lyrics. For me, this album was long awaited and I was very pleased with how it turned out.
Book: Everyday by David Levithan
I was introduced to the book Everyday by David Levithan and throughout the book I was thoroughly enthralled. It’s about a soul named “A” and in 24 hour periods he/she switches bodies. So, everyday they have a new life that have to acclimate to.
“A” falls in love and the book brings light to the gentleness, consistency, and commitment of love.
Personally, the book was thrilling, but the ending is quite quick and to the point and I didn’t feel the closing fit the drawn out fashion of the book. With that, I rewrote the ending for a benchmark, so I suggest reading the book first and then checking out my ending. However, I do suggest this for anyone interested in love stories.
Video Game: The Impossible Game
Between the absolutely insane jumps and chasms of dark despair, a mere five minutes is all it takes to become utterly addicted to this game. You play as a reddish-orange box that jumps upon command and the objective is avoid the blasted white spikes and black floor that would cause your box to explode into tiny, little sparks. A couple of nights back, my attempts (or my respawn count) reached well over six hundred and I have not even passed the first level yet. The indie game seems like it would be too straightforward to keep your interest for long, but that is just the thing — the simplicity of it, with its dark blue background and killer dubstep that grows louder as the box continues to slide along its path, makes for a superb pastime. Getting this distraction entails that you might be quitting out of rage constantly, but you will always come back. Trust me.
Restaurant: Almaz Cafe
Craving something new, different, exciting?
Ethiopian food should be at the top of your list. This little cafe doesn’t just have amazing food, they also have a great staff (like myself). Almaz Café is a small place on 140 S. 20th Street, between Sansom and Walnut Streets on 20th. The owners Soloman and Almaz are the kindest people you’ll ever meet, they keep the welcoming atmosphere. Don’t let it’s small size mislead you, it’s full of animation and great people. Not only do they have Ethiopian foods, but they also have simple yet delicious breakfast and lunch. Aside from the Ethiopian dishes, Almaz Café is known for its great omelets, wraps, smoothies, and varieties of their bold coffee. I love that place, their mango smoothie is pheNOMenal Go there you won’t regret it!
Book: The Fault in Our Stars
Tumblr fangirls and hip young-adults alike awaited John Green’s fourth solo novel The Fault in Our Stars published January of 2012.
I found myself one of many that were mesmerized by John Green’s almost seamless understanding and characterization of issues in the lives of teens after reading his first novel Looking For Alaska.
The Fault in Our Stars focuses on the relationship between two teens with cancer and their struggle to define the implications of life, growing up, death and where love is intertwined.
It comes as no surprise to Green’s fans that it received positive critical reception and remained for seven weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list after debuting at number one.
The best way I can describe it is– a strange mix of miserable reality with an equal dose of humor. Including the last possible thing you want to happen can make you hate a book, but I appreciated the realism of the characters and the situation.
Hazel and Augustus, the main characters, use words and jargon I wish I used and they are people I wish I knew. That’s the magic to writing.
This movie had me in stitches. While I wouldn’t say the movie plot itself was anything super spectacular, the quirky yet stereotypical crude Scottish humour was enough to make Brave one of my new favourite animated films.
But my fascination with movie begun long before I actually got to watch it. If you haven’t seen the trailer, you really should; my dad and I were impersonating King Fergus for weeks after we watched it.
I got to watch the movie while I was in Scotland, visiting my family, which perhaps, for me, added to the humorous charm of the film. The accents of the characters in the movie were relatively on par, which I appreciated, considering I usually find the accents to be “over done” in most other animated films.
While I think the plot could have been a bit better, Brave never fails to make me crack up.
Web Cartoon: Bravest Warriors
A few weeks ago, I was browsing YouTube and came across an interesting animation project that Pendleton Ward (creator of Adventure Time) was doing. Bravest Warriors is a slightly more mature cartoon with the same art style as Adventure Time except I don’t feel like I’m watching a kid’s show. More young adult themes like love are also present, which can encourage more adolescent viewers to watch this satisfying cartoon. I also feel like Ward has nothing to fear. As the show is exclusive to the internet, the censors will only go as far as he wants them to go.
Movie: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
When I first read that the prequel to Lord of the Rings was in pre-production, I almost jumped out of my seat. Though I was apprehensive at first about the director’s decision to split Tolkien’s relatively small story into three movies, I quickly realized that the film was far from boring.
Like the book, The Hobbit is much more lighthearted and whimsical than Lord of the Rings, but the filmmakers make an honest effort to include some of the same gorgeous scenery shots and lovable characters that made the trilogy so enjoyable. Provided they can accept that this new edition is a much different story than the original trilogy, Lord of the Rings fans will find that Middle Earth has lost none of its excitement.
Book: Slaughterhouse-Five, or the Children’s Crusade: A Duty Dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut
A bombed out city, alien abduction from the 4th dimension, and time travel are all parts to Kurt Vonnegut’s famous book. The reputation preceded it when I flipped through a weathered copy in a thrift store. Going through my phase of classic books I was determined to know what all of the whoopla was about. Stuffed with thematic detail Vonnegut uses the horrors of World War II and an unknown extraterrestrial world to ask the reader, who is in charge of your future?
From the fifth page I was sucked into his unique description of time travel and curiously wondered how many alternate realities were currently going on around me. Ranked at the 18th greatest English novel of the 20th century, I highly suggest this book to anyone looking for a fun read.
TV Show: Homeland
With the second season just ending, the show left me curled up on the couch hugging a pillow. I can definitely say that this is the first show I have ever watched with this much suspense, love, and unexpected twists.
Homeland gives me a chance to spend time with my mom too. With our busy schedules, that one hour every Sunday night gives us the chance to actually see each other.
This show is about international relationships, mixed up love, mental health issues, terrorism, and the CIA. The two main characters Carrie (CIA agent) and Brody (Ex Marine) always have something new to unfold.
I don’t want to give away too much, but you should definitely check it out. It’s available on Showtime and On Demand (if you have Comcast)
If you are interested (which you should be) here is a link where you can watch some of the clips.
Not too long ago I had the pleasure to eat at one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to. As soon as I walked through the doors I was filled with a deep calming feeling. The service was remarkable. The staff is full of patience and hospitality. You get to sit at the hibachi as you watch your own personal chef cook your meal to your specifications. They perform tricks as they cook and always crack good jokes. It’s a wonderful place to dine with children. I recommend Benihanas anyone who is looking for an enjoyable traditional meal to have with the family.