Nickel Picks

The Nickel Film Festival is back later this month. Here are some of the ones Scope reviewers Mark Jerrett, Jen Squires, and Lauren Power dug the most.

The Sweetest Hippopotamus

(4 minutes. Crime/Musical/Romance)

Choice quote: “We had somethin’ special, doll. I liked you. You never flapped yer gums like Eunice.”
It’s kinda like: Boardwalk Empire, but nobody looks like Steve Buscemi.
Watch for: Cigarette girls! Pillbox hats! Attractive people being old-timey! Fake moustaches!
Synopsis: In this flashback to the ‘30’s, deaf cigarette girl Suzette becomes involved with her sleazy boss at the Sweet Hippo nightclub to help pay off her father’s gambling debt. Things become complicated when handsome troubadour Sam Suitcase rolls into town and sweeps her off her feet. JS

Oliver Bump’s Birthday

(16 minutes. Adventure/Dark Comedy)

It’s kinda like: The Royal Tenenbaums meets Red Dwarf! What?
Choice quote: “Holy shark!”
Watch for: Quirkiness! Recorder duet!
Synopsis: It’s like the pilot for the darkest YTV show that ever existed. MJ

It’s A Girl

(8 minutes. Drama)

Watch For: Dramatic crib tossing! Baby vomit!
Choice Quote: “My mother saved a cat once. The cat had an ailment that left it hideous. And no one would have it.”
Synopsis: Filmed on Super 8 and looking like a lost Hole video, Kenneth J. Harvey (“I’m 14 and I Hate the World”) returns with a startling black and white film in which a teen girl tells the story of her mother, a woman who she has never met. This may not be for everyone, but if you have an appreciation for disturbing imagery and teen angst, you should check it out. JS

Last Christmas

(13 minutes. Thriller)

It’s kinda like: Cormac McCarthy’s The Road at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home
Choice dialogue: “Never go outside! Never!”
Synopsis: Crafted by hands that know their way around a horror film, Josh wakes up at his senile Nana’s house on Christmas Eve, which sounds really nice, but from the get-go there is an overwhelming sense of dread. Most of this atmosphere is established by the ominous score and excellent sound effects. Kudos to the sound department. Anyway, this Christmas turns even more bleak when we begin to realize things aren’t as they should be. Slightly chilling, this left us wanting more. MJ

Last Music Man

(10 minutes, Documentary)

Watch For: Hana Gartner! Drug abuse montage! Punching! Guitar to face!
Synopsis: This documentary gives a history of a man who has booked countless shows in Toronto, going into his time working with the CBC on The 5th Estate, drug abuse, and his relationship with the music scene. The guy has had songs written about him (“You’re a Jerk, Dan Burke” by Brutal Knights for instance), so this is an interesting short. The only problem is that it feels like a trailer for a full length documentary. JS

Decoloured

(10 minutes. Romance/Drama)

Watch For: Prostitute! The Metrobus! The Lamp Post!
It’s kinda like: Instagram: The Musical!
Choice Quote: “Jesus. It’s like a dying fire.”
Synopsis: A colourblind photographer and a charming lamp salesgirl meet cute, and he begins to see what he was missing. This is a genuinely funny and sweet film, with amazing leads who have an easy chemistry which is no easy feat when you’re working with a fraction of the running time Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey typically get to run the course of true love. The film’s central camera trick doesn’t overstay its welcome, provides some memorable images along the way. As with many of these films, it’s a good sign when you’re rooting for people when you’ve just met them. LP

Kathy

(10 minutes. Dark Comedy)

Choice Quote: “SLUT!”
Synopsis: Big ups to writer Emily Bridger for delivering one of the sharpest scripts this year. The dialogue allows Kathy to slide easily alongside movies like Heathers, Mean Girls, and Clueless — all movies that perch comfortably on the undeniable fact that teen girls are awful, complicated, and totally fascinating. Meanwhile, Mark O’Brien directs with humor and heart, giving us a film that seems polished, while remaining something that is distinctly from Newfoundland. This film — and all parties involved — is one to watch. LP

For showtimes, check the movie listings on page 25. The Nickel Film Fest takes place from June 19-23. More info at nickelfestival.com