Oscar winning screenwriter John Ridley ("12 Years a Slave") has been relatively quiet for the past few years, but he's getting back in the mix with a twisty new science fiction film. The movie has a solid cast – Leslie Odom Jr., Cynthia Erivo, Orlando Bloom, Frieda Pinto, and Jadyn Wong – but a truly terrible title: "Needle in a Timestack." What on Earth is a "timestack," you ask? Check out the trailer and maybe you'll be able to glean the answer for yourself. (But … uh … probably not.)
Needle In A Timestack Trailer
I know I should probably try to point out some interesting things about this trailer, but honestly, I'm still hung up on the word "timestack." There's something about that word that I just can't get past. It was fine when author Robert Silverberg used it in the title of his short story collection, because it somehow works when it's associated with literature. But when that word makes the jump over to a movie title, it buckles under the weight of having to shoulder a viewing experience and it just becomes laughable. Weird.
As for the trailer itself: I like all of the actors involved, but there's a sense of blandness to the visuals that makes the movie feel cheap when paired with its high-concept premise. It feels like it's destined to be one of those movies that feels like it debuts with a thud, with its most lasting legacy to become a bar trivia question years from now. "Wait, there was a 2021 movie that had all of those actors in it?" someone will incredulously say, and cinephiles will struggle to remember its name before shrugging and moving on to the next question. That feels mean to say, but based on this trailer (which might just be a sleepily-cut trailer and not fully indicative of a dull movie), that's the vibe I'm getting. Personally, I hope this movie has a wicked twist or some kind of bonkers reveal which helps it to carve out its own path, but since I have not read Silverberg's original source material, I'll have to wait and see what Ridley has up his sleeve.
Here is the film's official synopsis:
If love is in the form of a circle, what lines would you cross to be with your soulmate? In this gripping, near-future love story directed by Oscar® winner John Ridley, Nick and Janine (Oscar® nominees Leslie Odom, Jr. and Cynthia Erivo) live in marital bliss, until Janine's ex-husband (Orlando Bloom) warps time to try to tear them apart using Nick's college girlfriend (Frieda Pinto). As Nick's memories and reality disappear, he must decide what he's willing to sacrifice in order to hold onto — or let go of — everything he loves. Can love endure in a future where time is fluid, and all of life may be just an illusion?
"Needle in a Timestack" will hit theaters, On Demand, and Digital on October 15, 2021, and will land on Blu-ray and DVD just a few days later on October 19, 2021.
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