A barely pre-covid movie set on a cruise ship, haha. Everyone gave the same description of this movie, that it’s about a writer who has to take a trip across the ocean, chooses ship travel and invites her two oldest friends, then invites her nephew to keep them occupied while the writer avoids everyone. Doesn’t sound interesting based on that, but I trusted in the actors and Soderbergh’s rep, and was rewarded with some very natural dialogue mixed with exquisite writing, and an engaging watch despite some clunky bits.

Happy to see Lucas Hedges not end up with spying lit agent Gemma Chan (soon to star in Chloe Zhao’s Eternals, which is hopefully better than The Old Guard). Happy to see Dianne Wiest for the first time in a memorable movie since Synecdoche NY. She and Candice Bergen have scores to settle, which had ultimately less payoff than the Dean Koontz stand-in getting everyone’s respect at the end. Meryl Streep’s second Soderbergh movie in a row (still haven’t checked out The Laundromat). Writer Deborah Eisenberg is a Malick associate, and Soderbergh ought to have a twisty crime drama ready to go when theaters reopen.

Piperno’s first feature is a Slow Arthouse Being John Malkvich, the least fun version imaginable of a story about discovering portals between a cruise ship, a city apartment in Uruguay, and a shed in rural Philippines.

Window Boy is a cruise ship flunky who constantly shirks his duties and has nothing going on. The woman who lives in the apartment is less afraid of the intruder than she is curious about Window Boy’s origins and wanting to use the portal herself. And the guy who discovers the shed is afraid of its power after dreaming that a snake ate his family, so plots to destroy it (but not before slaughtering some animals on-camera to summon the spirits, argh). And again… if that description sounds enticing, imagine the slowest, most uneventful version of it.

He’s not called Window Boy because he peers through ladies’ windows, that’s a red herring:

Apartment Lady would also like to visit a cruise ship: