Sheila Benson

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For 166 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 54% higher than the average critic
  • 1% same as the average critic
  • 45% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 3.1 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Sheila Benson's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 67
Highest review score: 100 Platoon
Lowest review score: 10 Soul Man
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 91 out of 166
  2. Negative: 20 out of 166
166 movie reviews
    • 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
    • 80 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is as fine a film as it is a brutally disturbing one.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 61 Metascore
    • 60 Sheila Benson
    In retrospect, there are gaps in the story, a crucial lack of parallelism about the murders, one interview in which Rourke makes amazing leaps of knowledge from we-don't-know where. But the performance that fuels it all, Rourke's unfolding portrayal of a man on a spiraling slide downward toward a truth he doesn't want to learn, may be enough to carry us beyond quibbles. [06 Mar 1987, p.C1]
    • 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
    • 67 Metascore
    • 60 Sheila Benson
    If ever a movie needed a modest, straight-ahead style to its telling, it's this one. And while James Foley's direction (and strong, iconoclastic casting) has resulted in a handful of indelible performances, he can't get out of his own way when it comes to how he tells his story.
    • 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
    • 60 Metascore
    • 50 Sheila Benson
    Unfortunately, what director Joanou makes of all these promising elements is thudding pretentiousness.
    • 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
    • 44 Metascore
    • 70 Sheila Benson
    3 Men and a Cradle is a perfectly pleasant little piffle; watching it with an audience you'll probably hear, as I did, that soft cooing sound people make at the sight of a really adorable baby. This picture won't rot your brain or lead your children into nasty habits. It's just French pablum.
    • 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
    • 40 Metascore
    • 20 Sheila Benson
    This is grim and witless storytelling, and what makes it so depressing is that it hasn't improved by so much as a chemical trace since the days of the first "Rocky."
    • 65 Metascore
    • 70 Sheila Benson
    There is the music, however, great dollops of '50s songs, and it lifts the movie when the dialogue and the earnest-but-uninspired direction keeps it earthbound.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 50 Sheila Benson
    A tract, a dry rerun of Cry Freedom, with none of that film's visual sweep (whatever else its faults) and with nothing new to tell us. It's filled with obvious, earnest performances--Marlon Brando's ironic and subtle one is the only exception--and unresonant writing.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    The summer's uncorseted, unqualified delight. [14 July 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
    • Los Angeles Times
    • 72 Metascore
    • 90 Sheila Benson
    Intelligent, complex and enthralling, Presumed Innocent is one of those rare films where all the players seem to be in a state of grace, where the working of the machinery never shows and after it's over, one runs and reruns its intricacies with a profound sense of satisfaction.
    • 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
    • 47 Metascore
    • 40 Sheila Benson
    There was bite and outrageousness and a touch of the surreal to the excesses of National Lampoon's Vacation (in which Chevy Chase and Harold Ramis humanized Hughes' cartoonlike material). This was writing whose springboard might have been awful firsthand experience. European Vacation feels as though it were dreamed up to cover the rent on the beach house for the summer.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 50 Sheila Benson
    Everything that might have set Sleeping With the Enemy apart and made it memorable--textured central characters, psychological depth or a shred of believability--has been swept aside in the rush to make the movie a luxury item, sleekly gorgeous, blankly watchable, not unlike its star Julia Roberts.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 90 Sheila Benson
    An utterly pleasant surprise...Lordy, is it tenderly acted, with an unyielding spine of honesty to all its characters.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 80 Sheila Benson
    A bracingly outrageous portrait of the playwright, his free-ranging life and remarkably constricted times. It is directed by Stephen Frears and stunningly well played by Gary Oldman, that slight chameleon who was Sid in Sid and Nancy; by Vanessa Redgrave, as Orton's agent and confidante, Peggy Ramsey, and by Alfred Molina as the lugubrious zombie Halliwell.
    • 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
    • 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
    • 65 Metascore
    • 80 Sheila Benson
    Jessica Lange plays the scrappy '60s singer with sweet ferocity.
    • 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
    • 85 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
    • 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
    • 85 Metascore
    • 100 Sheila Benson
    Terence Davies' mesmerizing memory film, Distant Voices, Still Lives, becomes its own kind of poetry: taut, referential, inward, brilliant. Although it is set among the unremarkable flats of Liverpool, the place is stamped by Davies' profoundly original vision and sounds; its framing is painterly and deliberate. And just as you think you have its moves all doped out, a scene of such shocking beauty flashes before you that it takes your breath away.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 10 Sheila Benson
    Stunningly, ponderously bad.

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