Sheila Benson
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For 86 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 56% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 42% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 9.2 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Sheila Benson's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 69
Highest review score: 100 Sex, Lies, and Videotape
Lowest review score: 10 Highlander
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 51 out of 86
  2. Negative: 11 out of 86
86 movie reviews
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    Electrifying… As writer, director and editor, [Soderbergh’s] control is mesmerizing. It's also more than a little creepy; as though Soderbergh were drawing us, a step at a time, into a warm pool where intimate secrets flowed back and forth as simply as currents of water. [4 Aug 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 53 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    Irresistibly funny… Just about the best holiday gift imaginable. [23 Dec 1988, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 93 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    The performances of Close and Silver are flawless, but it is Irons' portrait that remains behind, an enigmatic after-image… Reversal of Fortune is a delectable tour through facets of the lives of the rich and famous that Robin Leach wouldn't touch with a forked stick. [17 Oct 1990]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    It's as engaging, as modest, as utterly American and as thrilling as the true-life story it's based on. [11 Dec 1986, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 91 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    Stirred up impassioned debate everywhere; it would seem the greatest compliment that could be paid a stunning entertainment. [30 June 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    A convulsively funny affair.[15 July 1988, Calendar, p. 6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    The summer's uncorseted, unqualified delight. [14 July 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    Dense, satisfying, feverishly inventive and a technical marvel… But--animation aside--the treasure of the piece is Hoskins' pungent, visceral comic performance. [22 June 1988]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    To think of a film this assured, this unified and this dizzyingly potent, you have to go back to "Blue Velvet." [22 Sept 1988]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 84 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    Hopkins' insinuating performance puts him right up there with the screen's great bogymen. [13 February 1991, Calendar, p.F-1}
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 72 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    A clear-eyed vision. Authentic as an Edward Curtis photograph, lyrical as a George Catlin oil or a Karl Bodmer landscape, this is a film with a pure ring to it. It's impossible to call it anything but epic [9 Nov 1990, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 86 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    Diamond-hard and mesmerizing… Bening and Cusack are perfection at what they are doing, she twinkly as any rhinestone, he dangerously passive; it's hardly their fault that Huston is the motor of the piece and so ferociously seductive that one cannot look away from her. [5 Dec 1990]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 89 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    GoodFellas is "Raging Bull" squared. [20 September 1990, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 90 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    Mellow, beautiful, rich and brimming with love, "Hannah" is the best Woody Allen yet and, quite simply, a great film. [7 February 1986, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    The most brilliantly disturbing film ever to have its roots in small-town American life. [19 September 1986, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 83 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    Such nourishing comedy. It satisfies every hunger, especially the irrational ones that seem to hit hardest at holidays: hunger for impetuous romance and for the reassuring warmth of family, for reckless abandon, and for knowing who we are and what we want. [16 Dec 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 92 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    One of the bloodiest and most beautiful reflections on atonement in the Scorsese canon... It is still one of cinema's most breathtaking films.
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 94 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    The Manchurian Candidate proves that its fascination is intact. [12 Jan 1998, p.C1; Re-Release]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 86 Metascore
    • 90 Sheila Benson
    A film of warmth, insight, humor and surprising originality… [It] isn't perfect, but when it's good, which is every moment John Cusack is on screen, it's a living joy. And when it's not-so-good--earthbound and not inventive enough--it s till almost single-handedly redeems the breed. [14 April 1989]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 79 Metascore
    • 90 Sheila Benson
    Biting and vicious, a styptic pencil on the battered face of "civilized divorce." It's also thoughtful, laceratingly funny, and bravely true to its own black-and-blue comic vision. [8 Dec 1989]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Sheila Benson
    Working Girl is the sparkling success that it is because of the sheer irresistibility of Melanie Griffith. [21 Dec 1988, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Sheila Benson
    It's just that when a movie is this close, with so much of the sports flavor (co-producer Thom Mount is co-owner of the real Durham Bulls), you like to see it perfect. [15 June 1988]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 78 Metascore
    • 90 Sheila Benson
    In a superb cast of mostly unknowns -- with the exception of Matthew Modine and Dorain Harewood -- D'Onofrio, who put on 60 pounds for this pivotal role, and Ermey are exceptional. [26 June 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Sheila Benson
    Smart and funny, touching and unabashedly sensual... the sweet sleeper of a hot season. [21 Aug 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 65 Metascore
    • 90 Sheila Benson
    Somehow, Hoffman makes all this hypnotically interesting, and, through impeccable timing, sometimes terribly funny--a sweet humor which never betrays Raymond's unalterable character. [16 Dec 1988]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 73 Metascore
    • 90 Sheila Benson
    Demme finds haunting overtones in the somewhat old-hat situations of E. Max Frye's first screenplay. Something Wild also has three first-class performances: by Daniels, who seems to have resources that his earlier roles never touched; by electrifying newcomer Ray Liotta, and by Griffith as the maddening, mysterious Lulu. [6 Nov 1986]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Sheila Benson
    Drugstore Cowboy, an electrifying movie without one misstep or one conventional moment. [11 Oct 1989]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 80 Metascore
    • 90 Sheila Benson
    It would seem impossible that anyone looking into the heart and the clear intent of the film would fail to see Scorsese's passion for his subject. And if our world is becoming so dangerously constricted that we're forbidden even to look, that is something we should all worry about. [12 Aug 1988, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 82 Metascore
    • 90 Sheila Benson
    Ron Howard reaches real maturity here, as he pulls together the script's tendency to skitter between sociology and sitcom, making it into one perceptive, delicious whole. [2 Aug 1989, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 84 Metascore
    • 90 Sheila Benson
    Broadcast News is so diabolically clever that you rather expect it to be heartless, in the way that so much surface cleverness can be. No such thing. Heartless is the wrong word for this movie: It's insightful and understanding and marvelous fun, while giving up none of its thoughtfulness. [16 Dec 1987, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Sheila Benson
    The production is as clean and effective as Red October herself; there's not one dial or glowing radar screen too many; the underwater hits and near-misses are clearly choreographed and the undersea intensity is captured perfectly by Jan De Bont's camera work. [2 Mar 1990, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 52 Metascore
    • 80 Sheila Benson
    A smart, generous, genuinely funny affair. Sometimes, like the camel who almost ambles away with the picture, it's longish in the tooth, but it is based on an extremely astute vision of life. [15 May 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Sheila Benson
    In addition to its photography, the film's details of costuming (by "The Last Emperor's" James Acheson) and production design (by Stuart Craig of "Gandhi" and "The Mission") are ravishing. [21 Dec 1988, Calendar p.6]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 76 Metascore
    • 80 Sheila Benson
    If you want the true, jaw-dropping details of Pu Yi's life, try the biography by Edward Behr, Newsweek International's cultural editor. If you want a staggering and certainly singular movie experience, The Last Emperor will do very nicely. [20 Nov 1987, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Sheila Benson
    Depardieu and MacDowell seem to share an uncommon honesty and generosity of spirit. So as the sexual tension between their characters grows, their scenes together are charmingly open and uncompetitive. The sense is that if these two ever become lovers, it will be because they have first become friends. On that startling note, in today's climate of explicit, loveless love, the film floats to its heady conclusion. [11 Jan 1991, p.6]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Sheila Benson
    Strangely enough, Married to the Mob, which may prove to be Demme's long-overdue passport to mass audience adulation, may tickle everyone but die-hard Demme fans. [19 Aug 1988]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 74 Metascore
    • 80 Sheila Benson
    Stylistically, the film is a dream. But in every case, the style has a reason. [12 Aug 1988]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 49 Metascore
    • 80 Sheila Benson
    Weir's orchestrated The Mosquito Coast's action to match Fox's progressive mental state, from rage to explosion to squalls and finally to hurricane velocity; however, the film leaves us not with an apotheosis, but exhaustion. [26 Nov 1986]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 58 Metascore
    • 80 Sheila Benson
    Class Action s good, chewy entertainment, part courtroom pyrotechnics, part Machiavellian legal maneuvers. [15 Mar 1991]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 56 Metascore
    • 80 Sheila Benson
    The comedy of Quick Change is city-dweller humor, honed to a fine edge and site-specific to New York because the Big Apple is more or less on its knees, civility-wise. All it needs is a lethally funny comedy like this to give it the coup de grace. [13 Jul 1990, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 84 Metascore
    • 80 Sheila Benson
    The actors, many of whom are part of a loose Mike Leigh stock company, are miraculously deft at erasing that line between performing and being.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 80 Sheila Benson
    Eventually the film's suspense underpinnings take over its personal story, yet that tension Quaid and Barkin generate still holds.
    • 71 Metascore
    • 80 Sheila Benson
    F/X
    A love of the world of movies permeates the first-class, crackling excitement of F/X, giving a rare dimension to this thriller.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 70 Sheila Benson
    But seductive as his surfaces are, Forman's tack doesn't hold for long. His changes have muted a great tale of betrayal by intelligence and he has blunted the malign inevitability of Laclos' story. [17 Nov 1989]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Sheila Benson
    A lovingly assembled cast in a brilliantly detailed production, with special notice to Vilmos Zsigmond's haunting cinematography, which seems somehow to have captured the light as it was, pre-smog. [10 Aug 1990]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 68 Metascore
    • 70 Sheila Benson
    Blithe, reasonably witty, with as many story twists as a Riviera roadway, its greatest assets are its glorious look and Michael Caine, his hair full of Dippety-Doo, his heart full of larceny. [14 Dec 1988, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 56 Metascore
    • 70 Sheila Benson
    Ghostbusters II doesn't seem to be pushing as hard as its predecessor, which of course makes it even more fun. There's an old-shoeishness to the proceedings; even Murray's owlish put-downs seem a little less snide-they're almost affectionate, if that's not too outrageous a word in this context. [16 Jun 1989, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 69 Metascore
    • 70 Sheila Benson
    Gilliam never aims down, his films zing in somewhere at the Mensa level of reference, but he seems confident that we will catch the wit of his visual quotations and so we do. Like a film making Catherine wheel, he throws off an immoderate art history display; he plunders past film styles with a free hand to make a point. [5 Mar 1989, p.23]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 57 Metascore
    • 70 Sheila Benson
    If "Back to the Future" made you bored and querulous, then the tumbling inventiveness in its sequel may come as a pleasant surprise. Of course, if you were among the 92% of the world who loved the ride in Dr. Emmett Brown's diabolical DeLorean back in 1985, then Part II is your oyster. [22 Nov 1989, p.F1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 67 Metascore
    • 70 Sheila Benson
    This is the most cheerfully preposterous film of a jaw-dropping summer, which is not to say it's not fun, it's simply orchestrated Looney Tunes.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 70 Sheila Benson
    For all its genuinely funny moments and its mix of outrageousness and insights, Down and Out remains curiously unsatisfying in the way it resolves the Nolte character.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 60 Sheila Benson
    Heart may be what the movie needs most, but a bit of clarity wouldn't hurt either. Even here in gangsterland, where random characters are cherished and non sequiturs are considered wisecracks, there is a difference between complications and impenetrability, and this plot is a bloody thicket.. [5 Oct 1990, Calendar, p.F-10]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 65 Metascore
    • 60 Sheila Benson
    You can't roll monstrous boulders straight at audiences any more and have a whole theater-full duck and gasp with fright--and pleasure. We may be plumb gasped out. And although Harrison Ford is still in top form and the movie is truly fun in patches, it's a genre on the wane. [24 May 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 45 Metascore
    • 60 Sheila Benson
    The pace of the direction and-especially-of the screenplay by playwright-television writer John Kostmayer-begins to crawl, weighing down everything. [06 Apr 1990]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 76 Metascore
    • 60 Sheila Benson
    Although it, too, is gorgeous to look at, this skeletal thriller is as direct and spare as its Mennonites. [08 Feb 1985]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 64 Metascore
    • 60 Sheila Benson
    For all its mosaic of nice details, Silverado is still a faintly hollow creation-constructed, not torn from the heart. For a generation of kids to whom the Western is a new adventure, there probably will be action and distraction enough to dazzle. Those who need to be deeply stirred by this redoubtable form will still have to wait: Silverado is good but not great. [10 Jul 1985, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 75 Metascore
    • 60 Sheila Benson
    Possibly because Stone empathizes so enormously with co-writer Kovic, who came back from Vietnam at the age of 21 paralyzed from the chest down, the director has lost the specificity that made "Platoon" so electrifying. In its place he uses bombast, overkill, bullying. His scenes, and their ironic juxtapositioning, explode like land mines. [20 Dec 1989, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 71 Metascore
    • 60 Sheila Benson
    These and wickedly funny backstage snapshots of moviemaking are the good times of Postcards, but even they can't hide its emotional starvation. [12 Sep 1990, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 62 Metascore
    • 60 Sheila Benson
    Written with his trademark artfulness, nicely acted and gorgeously pretty, Tequlia Sunrise finally blows away into slick unsubstantiality. [2 Dec 1988, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 42 Metascore
    • 60 Sheila Benson
    Everyone who grew up with the full range of the Oz books is deeply in Murch's debt. However, the framework surrounding Return to Oz is dark and, I suspect, terribly frightening for very young children. [21 Jun 1985, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 78 Metascore
    • 50 Sheila Benson
    With Manhunter, there seems to be some danger that style has overrun content, leaving behind a vast, chic, well-cast wasteland. [15 Aug 1986]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 62 Metascore
    • 50 Sheila Benson
    But the climax of "Close Encounters" was breathtaking and the climax of The Abyss is downright embarrassing; in the light of day, its payoff effect looks like a glazed ceramic what's-it your 11-year-old made in crafts class. It's criminal. [9 Aug 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 55 Metascore
    • 50 Sheila Benson
    Did you miss "Pretty in Pink," with the glowing Molly Ringwald? No problem. Some Kind of Wonderful, which has the same director -- Howard Deutch -- also has the same story... The real complaint, however, is that Hughes has absolutely nothing new to report -- no fresh perspectives, no gratefully received maturity, nothing added or depleted. [27 Feb 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Sheila Benson
    For all its good intentions, for the thrillingly staged moments in the film's first quarter-for all the sweeping movement of thousands of people streaming through the streets of Shanghai-and for all its not-inconsiderable craft, the film's grave problem is a lack of central heating: We don't have a single character to warm up to. [09 Dec 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 50 Metascore
    • 50 Sheila Benson
    There's more length than depth to Labyrinth. The Baryshnikov staging of "The Nutcracker" has more to tell about a girl on the edge of young womanhood, with more poignancy and a more palpable sense of transition, than all the technical wizardry Henson and crew have offered so lavishly-and without a single pop song, either. [26 Jun 1986, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 79 Metascore
    • 50 Sheila Benson
    It's strange that in this somber inspection of moral fiber and what causes it to fray, De Palma couldn't have made his hero at least as interesting as his villain, and both of them at least as complicated as they were in life.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 50 Sheila Benson
    The film's greatest asset is Kelly LeBrock, who is triumphant. She may represent souped-up womanhood at its most fanciful but she does so with great warmth and a sharp sense of herself.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Sheila Benson
    Under Australian director George Miller ("Mad Max"), The Witches of Eastwick begins so promisingly. It has such smashing separate moments, so succulent a cast and so interesting a premise that watching it crumble into stomach-turning crudeness and "Poltergeist"-scale special effects is deeply painful.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 40 Sheila Benson
    Unfortunately, director Michael Lehmann's point of view is swivel-mounted: He doesn't have the courage of his cynicism. [31 Mar 1989]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 52 Metascore
    • 40 Sheila Benson
    In all his athletic scenes, leaping through doors, leaping between uptown and downtown trains, leaping on an assortment of villains, Swayze is just fine. It's the movie's big cosmic questions that throw him; for these he's reduced to a look of total stupefaction--not the movie's finest moments. [13 July 1990, Calendar, p.F-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Sheila Benson
    At all times the wretched high-concept, low-intelligence story contrives to bring everything down to its sudsy level. [22 Nov 1985]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 50 Metascore
    • 40 Sheila Benson
    Sanitized for our protection and in the hands of director Adrian Lyne, 9 1/2 Weeks is a swooningly silly cautionary tale about the bad and the beautiful; a pair whose sexual tastes might have surfaced after a night of watching "Bolero" on videocassette. [21 Feb 1986, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 56 Metascore
    • 40 Sheila Benson
    Wall Street wants to be a shrewd piece of movie making, our own insider's tip, but it's tinny and thin and close to moral bankruptcy. As for its veracity, it's probably no closer to Wall Street than "The Bad and the Beautiful" was to the skills of movie making. And it's a lot less fun. [11 Dec 1987, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 46 Metascore
    • 40 Sheila Benson
    In this stately and fairly slavish representation, directed by Richard Attenborough, what pokes through with the pain of a broken bone is how thin the material really is. [12 Dec 1985]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 86 Metascore
    • 40 Sheila Benson
    It's big, cartoonish and empty, with an interesting premise that is underdeveloped and overproduced. [3 July 1985, p.Calendar 6]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 66 Metascore
    • 30 Sheila Benson
    Without complexity to its characters, with little balance and without a hint of the personal, family or community issues involved, Colors becomes a movie that never has to ask "Why?"--a vivid, noisy shell of a film filled with eager young actors rattling along on the surface of a lethally important subject. [15 Apr 1988]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 51 Metascore
    • 30 Sheila Benson
    Nothing works, except perhaps the sight of Julia Roberts' lean, well-tempered midsection and her roughly eight yards of legs that, in this frail comedy, are worked until they're almost a story point of their own. [23 Mar 1990, Calendar, p.F-14]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 55 Metascore
    • 30 Sheila Benson
    The astonishing thing about Raising Arizona is how it can move so fast, be so loud, and ramain so relentlessly boring at the same time. [20 Mar 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 66 Metascore
    • 30 Sheila Benson
    The Joker has been demoted into a broad-scale sociopath, without a tempter's power or a mythic villain's complexity. And that's the movie's real undoing. [23 June 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 48 Metascore
    • 30 Sheila Benson
    It's hard to believe that the group who came up with the hard, clean edges of "Top Gun," sleek and unfeeling though it may have been, could make a picture as crude, as muddled, as destructo-Derbyish as this one. If Beverly Hills Cop II is its opening salvo, this is going to be a long, smoggy summer. [20 May 1987]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 35 Metascore
    • 20 Sheila Benson
    When director Herbert Ross is away from his dance numbers, he lets the pace sag frightfully. A lot of good talent on both sides of the camera goes down with this PG-13-rated ship. [20 Aug 1990, p.6]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 60 Metascore
    • 20 Sheila Benson
    You can leave Days of Thunder feeling positively chafed. That clanking noise, however, comes from Robert Towne's tinny story and its malnourished characters. [27 Jun 1990, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 38 Metascore
    • 20 Sheila Benson
    Actually it's not a bad notion for a satiric comedy and this one begins well, but then veers entirely out of hand until it's as over-inflated as its own Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come and as funny as a mugging. [23 Nov 1988, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 48 Metascore
    • 10 Sheila Benson
    James Earl Jones proves that he is probably the only actor in America who can wear the skin of a full-grown lion-jewels in its eyes, its tail in its mouth-over street clothes and not look like a damn fool. But there's not a thing he can do with this flaccid, foolish film. [29 Jun 1988, p.1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 12 Metascore
    • 10 Sheila Benson
    Arm wrestling and hamburger building have been exhausted as backgrounds for movies, so it was probably inevitable that bartending would be next. But nothing quite prepares you for the hamburger that Cocktail makes of an old and relatively honorable profession. [29 Jul 1988, p.14]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 24 Metascore
    • 10 Sheila Benson
    In spite of a sturdy cast and dazzling production design, Highlander is stultifyingly, jaw-droppingly, achingly awful.[11 Mar 1986, p.5]
    • Los Angeles Times