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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Pacific Heights (1990)

A young couple (Melanie Griffith, Matthew Modine) buy an old Victorian home in San Francisco and renovate it with the object of living on the top floor and renting the two units on the first floor to supplement their income. But their dream becomes a nightmare when they rent to the tenant from Hell (Michael Keaton) who is intent on destroying their lives. It's hard to believe that the man who gave us SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY, MIDNIGHT COWBOY, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, DAY OF THE LOCUST and DARLING had been reduced to directing pulp like this by 1990. For what it is, John Schlesinger takes a decent stab at a Hitchcockian thriller (he even makes a Hitchcock like cameo in an elevator) but Daniel Pyne's often silly screenplay doesn't give him much to work with. Keaton makes for an effective if slimy villain but it's hard to find much sympathy for Modine who seems like the dumbest landlord on record and the screenplay doesn't give him an iota of common sense. At times, you feel like he deserves everything he's getting because he's so stupid. But it's not a movie to take seriously or it falls apart rapidly. A disposable entertainment, it serves its purpose. With Tippi Hedren, Mako, Beverly D'Angelo, Laurie Metcalf, Dorian Harewood, Dan Hedaya, Nobu McCarthy, Carl Lumbly and Miriam Margolyes. 

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