Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pacific Heights (1990)

Directed by:
John Schlesinger

Young married couple Patty (Melanie Griffith) and Drake (Matthew Modine) buy a big Victorian style house in San Francisco and, being seriously in debt, decide to remodel the place into three apartments; one for them and two to rent. An older Asian couple (Mako and Nobu McCarthy) move into one apartment and Carter Hayes (Michael Keaton) moves into another. Carter turns out to be a psycho who hides out in the parking garage in shades and won't pay the rent. He also lets cockroaches loose in the building, starts seriously damaging the property and eventually starts to harass the couple, which leads to violence and murder. This solid and well-made suspense thriller is very entertaining, well-paced and has a credible premise, as well as credible performances from the entire cast. Keaton is particularly good. Griffith's mother, Tippi Hedren (of THE BIRDS fame) pops up in a cameo, as does the director (who can be seen riding an elevator).
The excellent supporting cast includes the always watchable Laurie Metcalf, Luca Bercovici (the director of GHOULIES and ROCKULA), Dan Hedaya, Beverly D'Angelo, Nicholas Pryor, Guy Boyd, Tracey Walter as a pest exterminator and Dabbs Greer.


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