27 February 2010 | MartinHafer
Very uneven and not especially fun to watch.
I am going to say something rather radical. Over the last several years, I've gone to the showings of both the animated and live-action short films that were Oscar nominated. For the first time ever, I went to a showing and didn't particularly like any of the films--as was the case with the live-action ones for 2010. I didn't think any of them were bad but i also didn't think any were Oscar-worthy--and most of them were amazingly unpleasant--like the Academy deliberately tried to pick the most unpleasant films they could this year. Perhaps 2008-9 was a poor year for live-action films or perhaps this just shows a bias of the people picking them. However, I can't see the public in general enjoying most of the films or wanting to see them.
"The New Tenants" was a frustrating film to watch. In some ways it was quite enjoyable and well made but in other ways it made me frustrated at the viciousness of the movie as well as the poor ending.
The film begins with two new tenants in an apartment "enjoying" a quite moment together. One of the men seems very obnoxious--smoking when his partner begs him not to as well as talking non-stop in a funny but really annoying dialog that is 100% pure cynicism. It's obvious the quiet man hates him and they seem to have nothing in common and no chemistry--though it turns out they are gay lovers (this made no sense). I actually LIKED watching the obnoxious guy. He seemed like a horrible person but was funny in a dark way.
Into this hellish relationship arrives an elderly neighbor. She tells him about the previous tenants who were murdered horribly--right there in the apartment. She also wants to borrow some flour and the nicer tenant gives her a bag of what appears to be flour that was left by the old tenants. Little did they know that this would set off a chain of very, very bloody and murderous events. In fact, once the chaos begins, it's all incredibly awful and anything but fun--which is tough, since this is supposed to be a comedy. Now despite this, it still could have been a better film had it ended on a funny note--such as one of the men saying to the other "Okay...next time I'LL pick the apartment" or having them hit by a car as they danced into the streets. However, the ending, as is, made little sense and seemed flat. Of course, considering it was Oscar-nominated, what does my opinion really matter? Somebody must have really liked it.
By the way, if you do watch this one, pay close attention to the cigarette. In a slight continuity problem, it goes from long to short again and again in one scene---even though it's supposed to be the same cigarette.
UPDATE (3/7/10): Well, what do you know--this film won the Oscar. I guess other people saw something her that I just didn't. At least I got the Best Animated Short pick correct!