Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Crack the code on humor

How about this zinger from A.O. Scott's recent review of The Walk...

Mr. Petit, an elfin Frenchman with a terrible haircut (appositive), is played by the manic-pixie song-and-dance man Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an irrepressible imp, greeting the audience in accented English from a perch on the Statue of Liberty’s torch(participial). The Manhattan skyline — digitally rendered to include the towers and to omit more recent construction(participial set off by dash) — stretches out in the background, and the lady in the harbor stoically tolerates the presence of her voluble compatriot.
You might have a harder time. Let me see if I can put the matter in scientific terms. Philippe, in addition to being an aspiring wire walker, is a juggler, a mime and a unicyclist.(parallel structure) He is, as I’ve mentioned, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. This makes him, objectively speaking(participial qualifier), the most annoying person on earth. And “The Walk,” before ascending into the New York sky, tries to seduce you with forced amazement and sleeve-tugging (noun + participle modifier) displays of whimsy. Instead of wowing you, the movie gets in your face and yells, “Wow!” It’s not quite the same feeling. 
from A.O Scott's review of The Hobbit
In “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s first Middle-earth fantasy novel, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) sets out with the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and a posse of dwarfs to battle a fearsome dragon. [Spoiler alert] they do not kill the dragon, although [spoiler alert] they eventually will, within the next 18 months or so, because [spoiler alert] this “Hobbit,” which is [migraine alert] 170 minutes, is the first installment in [film critic suicide-watch alert] a trilogy.
I love clever reviews of disappointing albums.  Here is a excerpt of John Caramanica's of Lil Wayne most recent album. 
He’s a punch-line rapper who rarely thinks about his lines beyond the rhyming couplet. Coherent verses are a rarity, coherent songs even more so. And his choice of words often feels arbitrary; he’s not obsessed with picking the right ones or the most important ones or the most revealing ones... 
In recent years, but especially on this album, he’s become the least quotable great rapper, with lines that land harder more because of his voice than because of his wit, which was once prodigious. Because Lil Wayne has been so sharp, so dexterous in the past, it’s tempting (and ultimately necessary) to overanalyze him. But even on this album’s weak tracks, and there are several, he remains a commanding presence, deploying just enough of his insistent croak to tether the song together. He doesn’t bother appearing on two of the best tracks on the album, “Interlude” and “Outro,” which are instead full of eager guests.
Here is some clever writing from a review for Project X
A grimly depressing, glumly unfunny teensploitation comedy about an epic all-night party that devolves into anarchy, Project X also is an intriguing blank slate, a sort of crude art object upon which viewers can project whatever feelings they have about the degenerative high jinks on display, since the film itself offers none. In that sense, this strange teaming of producers Todd Phillips and Joel Silver provides a curious cultural, generational and even political touchstone, one that will enthrall a portion of the high school/college age demographic it depicts, just as it alternately outrages, confounds and disgusts other, presumably older audiences.
The first question posed by this action painting of resolute irresponsibility is: Have teenagers always been this idiotic, or does Project X move the goalposts? The second might be: Did earlier generations approach having a good time with such surly determination? And the third is, definitely: Does this film set the standard for the nausea-inducing use of the unsteady cam?

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