“The screwball murder mystery isn’t dead, it’s just moved to Brooklyn,” you find yourself thinking as you watch the new trailer for Lawrence Michael Levine’s “Wild Canaries.” The writer/director isn’t a household name yet, but he made a very interesting, distinctive first feature in the form of 2011’s “Gabi on the Roof in July,” a film that appears to share its successor’s loose, playful style and particular choice of milieu. The antic pace, incessant music, and quick, witty asides bear a superficial resemblance to the recent trailer for “She’s Funny That Way,” although the actors in “Wild Canaries” look considerably more excited than the aging A-listers in Peter Bogdonavich’s latest. Levine’s film — about two modern-day Nick and Norahs in Brooklyn who investigate the unscrupulous and mysterious death of their elderly neighbor — debuted to a generally favorable response at SXSW last March (here’s our review) and the first trailer has arrived.
The film’s plot concerns Noah and Barri, played by Levine and his real-life romantic partner Sophia Takal (who also co-starred in ‘Gabi’), as one of those fast-talking, uber-hip contemporary Brooklyn couples that seem to be getting more ubiquitous in film and television. Shortly after their kindly old nextdoor neighbor Sylvia croaks, Noah and Barri find themselves thrust into a gradually deepening mystery that involves fraudulent life insurance policies, plaster casts, and a strangely catatonic, oddly coiffed Kevin Corrigan. I’m making the film sound wackier than it is — although there’s clearly an element of physical comedy in the proceedings at hand, the mood of the trailer is decidedly laid-back. There are the standard shots of people jumping out of view when somebody opens the door, but there’s also art galleries, dinner parties, and lots of lounging around in cool-looking Brooklyn lofts. There’s also a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment of barking aggression from Jason Ritter for the “Parenthood” fans out there.
Check out the trailer below and let us know what you think. “Wild Canaries” arrives in theaters and on VOD on February 25th.