Wild Canaries Screen 12 articles

Wild Canaries


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  • Wild Canaries is a film filled with pernicious, irksome characters, each acted at a completely different nails-on-chalkboard pitch. This is an admittedly impressive feat. How can Takal's frantic hipster flibbertigibbet coexist with Levine's smug mansplaining dickhead, with neither being recognizably human or amusingly broad?

  • Despite its more farcical and anachronistic attributes, the film ultimately takes the form of a rather incohesive outline; it's a collection of affectations and misguided, stop-and-go subplots (the worst involving inchoate sexual infidelities and repetitiously bickering couples) that never coalesces into a coherent, satisfying whole.

  • Given that Wild Canaries keeps its leads acidly bickering through much of its runtime and Kumikoconcerns a subject in the grips of suicidal delusion, maybe my definition of “crowd-pleaser” is a little off from the norm. Nevertheless, the question remains: If a thoroughly professional, buoyantly-paced movie like Wild Canaries can’t catch a break, what hope is there for some of the really hard-sell fare out there?

  • Though the film occasionally employs discordant piano chords seemingly as a means to highlight sudden reveals, each of these sequences is cut so that the surprise is foregone, subtly mocking the manufactured suspense of so many formulaic thrillers. The film instead derives tension in more ingenious, homemade ways...

  • [Levine] distinguishes himself behind the camera with Wild Canaries, building tension and laughs in equal measure. The mystery here is as engaging as the banter between the characters. Levine displays his flair for both physical comedy and verbal sparring, as well as a talent for quirky visuals.

  • Mr. Levine spins a caper that wins you over more through tenacity than through originality... Mr. Levine and Ms. Takal — who are married, a fact that is relevant to the film’s comic timing — stand on their own two feet, at least until they dash off to chase the next clue.

  • Perched on the edge of reality and fantasy, Wild Canaries brings out intimate anxieties via low-budget screwball pastiche: a polished, effervescent riff on Manhattan Murder Mystery, transposed to Young Brooklyn.

  • A snappy rom-com sweetly infused with the tropes of detective mysteries... In many narrative respects, "Canaries" is essentially an update to "Manhattan Murder Mystery," Woody Allen’s probing but spry psychological exploration into spousal jealousy featuring an older version of Barri and Noah, placed one burrough over, Carol (Diane Keaton) and Larry Lipton (Allen). Visually, the films couldn’t be further apart.

  • This is perhaps the closest a contemporary film has come to replicating the unbridled jubilance of a classic screwball comedy, thanks as much to a sharply written script as to the exquisite performances of the two leads, who have created here a truly great screen romance.

  • In addition to proving adept at constructing and choreographing scenes that function as both farce and suspense, Levine proves to be a first-rate comedian, mugging for laughs without seeming vain or desperate for them, and expertly exploiting the Allen/Brooks/Arkin sweet spot where relatable and risible, schemer and put-upon overlap.

  • Levine, emblematic of an exciting new generation of low-budget New York filmmakers, appears uncommonly attuned to the tenets and traditions of a bygone age of comedic storytelling, a stylistic philosophy rooted in Capra and Sturges yet inherited from such descendants as Blake Edwards and Woody Allen. In the spirit of its forebears, Wild Canaries is gleefully antiquated, a fully dedicated neo-screwball effort as inventively constructed and effervescently acted as any modern genre exercise.

  • Levine builds the film on three axes of tension—the first is the deforming stress of financial need on intimate relationships; the second, the self-conscious psychological and narrative frame of Barri and Noah's relationship, their cinematic self-awareness of being inside a story that seems like a movie; and the third, Levine and Takal putting themselves in the position of Barri and Noah. Which is to say that Levine is an impressively tight writer and director who keeps the acting loose...

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