By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

New this weekend: ‘Saw X,’ ‘Dumb Money’ and ‘Fair Play’

Courtesy of Netflix
Fair Play Alden Ehrenreich and Phoebe Dynevor in ‘Fair Play’

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. The weather starts to cool down, I’m able to get out my sweaters and studios begin to release my favorite kinds of movies: Oscar-fare and horror. 

This weekend I was able to see two Oscar-hopeful movies in ‘Dumb Money’ and ‘Fair Play,’ and I rang in the horror season with ‘Saw X’. 

Saw X

‘Saw X’ is the tenth installment in the ‘Saw’ franchise. A series that pumped out seven installments in as many years between 2004 and 2010 slowed the pace down and has since become a playground for creativity with the releases of ‘Jigsaw,’ ‘Spiral’ and now ‘Saw X’. 

Without delving into deep spoilers, ‘Saw X’ takes a different approach from the rest of the franchise by putting franchise villain John Kramer AKA Jigsaw at the center of the stage and anointing him the main character. Following Kramer instead of his victims offers another fresh perspective for the series, after ‘Spiral’ which placed series newcomer Chris Rock in the leading role. 

While this shift is interesting in concept, I found it to be a little dull in execution. It takes about 45 minutes for the movie to kick into usual ‘Saw’-happenings, and what precedes it is a competently made but ultimately empty re-introduction to Kramer and – importantly – his terminal cancer diagnosis, which as it unravels becomes more and more derivative of David Fincher’s ‘The Game’. 

Once we get past introductions, the movie gets going and doesn’t stop. The iconic quick editing and gnarly visuals from the rest of the series welcome themselves in and produce a thrilling gore-fest. The performances from all the victims are fantastic, and the twists and turns taken in the final stretch were super fun.

If you’re here for the traps you won’t be disappointed, they’re equally relentless and disgusting in the best ways possible. The marquee eye-ball trap on the poster lives up to the hype, and the subsequent traps are just as gross and vile. 

If you like ‘Saw,’ you’ll like ‘Saw X’. And if you haven’t dipped your toe in the ‘Saw’ pond, I think this would be a great place to start. ‘Saw X’ is playing in theaters now.

Dumb Money

‘Dumb Money’ is the newest film from Craig Gillespie (‘I, Tonya,’ ‘Cruella’), which tells the story of the GameStop stock explosion from 2020. Paul Dano stars as Keith Gill AKA streamer Roaring Kitty, and leads an ensemble of Shailene Woodley, Nick Offerman, Vincent D’Onofrio, America Ferrerra, Anthony Ramos, Sebastian Stan, Seth Rogen, Pete Davidson, Rushi Kota, Myha’la Herrold and Talia Ryder. 

I thought ‘Dumb Money’ was a lot of fun, I knew absolutely nothing about what happened during the entire GameStop fiasco, so it was interesting to learn about it through this movie. Paul Dano is really great and lovable in this. He portrays an earnestness in Roaring Kitty that makes him easy to root for. In the last two years Dano has ‘The Batman,’ ‘The Fabelmans,’ and now this under his resume, pretty impressive. 

My largest grip is that it feels like there’s a little too much going on here. The film tries to juggle the stories of Keith Gill, who is pioneering the buying into GameStop’s stock (GSE), along with nurse Jennifer Campbell (Ferrera), GameStop employee Marcos (Ramos), and college students Riri and Harmony (Herrold and Ryder respectively) who are all invested in the stock as a result of following Gill’s continued buying in. 

On top of that, we also follow the co-CEOs of trading app RobinHood Vlad Tenev (Stan) and Baju Bhatt (Kota), and billionaires Steve Cohen (D’Onofrio). Gabe Plotkin (Rogen) and Kenneth Griffin (Offerman). This stuffed cast, while appealing on paper, leaves a lot to be desired and results in many of the plotlines feeling empty, and especially in the case of Ramos’ character, pointless. 

Regardless, the movie moves at such a lightning-fast pace that by the time you’re bored or annoyed at something going on, it’s pulled you right back in. The movie isn’t going to leave you with much to think about, but it’s a good time while you’re watching it and there are far worse ways to spend two hours. ‘Dumb Money’ is in theaters now. 

Fair Play

This was my favorite movie I saw this weekend. Starring Alden Ehrenreich and Phoebe Dynevor, ‘Fair Play’ is the feature debut of director Chloe Domont which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival before being picked up by Netflix. 

Ironically, ‘Fair Play’ is also a wall street movie. Ehrenreich and Dynevor’s characters both work at the same hedge fund firm, acting merely acquainted with each other at work, while recently engaged and trying to help each other’s careers out in reality. 

Netflix bought the film for $20 million, the biggest acquisition at Sundance by far, and after seeing the movie I understand why. Domont’s erotic-thriller features one of the best scripts of the year, and is elevated by star-making performances from Ehrenreich and Dynevor. Ehrenreich follows up his scene-stealing turn in ‘Oppenheimer’ by tackling a script that forces him to use every tool in his shed, and he delivers. 

For as good as Ehrenreich is, Dynevor is even better. Both of their performances tell stories within themselves: Ehrenreich’s a tragedy and Dynevor’s an ascension. She absolutely lights the screen on fire and controls every scene she’s in. 

The script is incredibly tightly written, continuously pushing both characters a little further down the road they’ve chosen for themselves. A series of events lined up and pushed down like dominoes to send this relationship towards the possibility of implosion. 

I found this movie electric. Phoebe Dynevor is the future. ‘Fair Play’ is on Netflix Oct. 6.

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