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  • Wild Canaries sleuths its way into theaters

    By | February 19, 2015


    Admittedly, you will be hard-pressed to find a bigger fan of Lawrence Michael Levine (Gabi on the Roof in July) or Sophia Takal (Green) than me. They are the only currently working director-actor combination [that I know of] in which they both function as top-notch directors (I consider them to be two of the most talented indie film directors). One thing is for certain, their on screen chemistry (whatever that means) in every film in which they appear as a couple is incomparably authentic; Wild Canaries is just another example of their collective ingenuity.

    Last year, I gave the world premiere screening of Wild Canaries at SXSW an 8 out of 10 review. Considering that this is the best screwball murder mystery of the last…who knows how many years…I am seriously contemplating bumping that rating up one more notch. Regardless, the text of my review is overwhelmingly positive. Here’s a little clip: 

    Lawrence Michael Levine reaches back to a seemingly dead genre, the screwball murder mystery, for his primary influences on Wild Canaries. Using The Thin Man series as one of his earliest reference points, Levine models Noah after William Powell’s Nick Charles, developing a character who is comically reserved and rational, yet despite his carefulness is also quite vulnerable. Noah is so tentative in his actions — well, except for whenever he is inebriated — that this character takes a backseat in the murder mystery to Sophia Takal’s Barri. The plot of Wild Canaries could almost be explained as a modern day adaptation of Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) — which is debatably the last legitimate entry into the screwball murder mystery cannon — with Levine playing the Woody Allen to Takal’s Diane Keaton.

    Wild Canaries plays like a psychological examination of their relationship, carefully observing Takal’s intentional irrationality as the chaotic counterpoint to Levine’s oh-so-serious stoicism. By purposefully exaggerating their personality traits and the situations in which their characters find themselves immersed, Levine creates a “worst case scenario” to test the limits of their relationship. Taking the personal angle out of the equation, Wild Canaries is an intriguing-yet-humorous analysis of masculine and feminine personality traits as it studies how the two sexes can interpret the exact same situation in drastically different ways.

    Sundance Selects will release Wild Canaries in New York City on February 25th & Los Angeles on March 6th. Here’s the official trailer: 

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