Sean Burns

Sean Burns
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Sean Burns is a Staff Critic for Movie Mezzanine and a Contributing Writer at WBUR's The ARTery and RogerEbert.com. He was Philadelphia Weekly's Lead Film Critic from 1999 through 2013, and worked as the Movies Section Contributing Editor at The Improper Bostonian from 2006 until 2014. His reviews, interviews and essays have also appeared in Metro, North Shore Movies, Nashville Scene, The House Next Door, Time Out New York, Philadelphia City Paper and The Boston Herald. A 2013 nominee for the National Society of Film Critics and founding member of the Boston Online Film Critics Association, Burns was a recurring guest on the late David Brudnoy's WBZ 1030 AM radio show, and in 2002 received an award for Excellence in Criticism from the Greater Philadelphia Society of Professional Journalists. His writing has been called "jocular but serious, more like a 1940's daily reporter pounding out columns on a manual typewriter than a typical 21st century navel-gazing film critic." Meanwhile, his sisters still tell him that he "smokes too much and drives like an old lady." His reviews are collected at www.splicedpersonality.com.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
52% Coming 2 America (2021) Maybe they should have just made a Sexual Chocolate concert movie instead? - North Shore Movies EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2021
82% F.T.A. (1972) Watching the film today it's shocking to hear soldiers speak out like this. After two decades of two wars I'm not sure anybody even knows why we're fighting anymore, military message discipline remains on point. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2021
53% The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021) Would undoubtedly be yet another tedious musician biopic, were it not for this filmmaker's lewd impudence and a galvanizing lead performance by Andra Day. - North Shore Movies EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 28, 2021
65% Willy's Wonderland (2021) It's a very droll performance, one that almost makes the movie worth watching. - North Shore Movies EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 17, 2021
79% Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021) One of those deeply strange creations that invents its own comedic ecosystem as it goes along. - North Shore Movies EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 17, 2021
96% Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) There's a blunt-force power to the film and real bravery in the screenplay's depiction of these characters. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2021
65% PVT CHAT (2021) The film fizzles out when it flips perspectives, falling into a caper that feels like Safdie Brothers-lite. - North Shore Movies EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2021
72% The World to Come (2020) What stings you is Fastvold's abrupt editing style, slashing at the pastoral photography and presentational period specifics to render the story's emotional violence as a death of a thousand cuts. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2021
93% Mass (2021) Insufferably impressed with its own cleverness, right down to the dumb double entendre title. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2021
100% The Dog Who Wouldn't Be Quiet (2021) Sometimes you spend a movie wondering where the hell this is going and by the end it feels like you've glimpsed the secrets of the universe. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2021
86% We're All Going to the World's Fair (2021) Schoenbrun's final scenes are shocking not just plot-wise, but more importantly for their compassion and humanity. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 6, 2021
97% Two of Us (Deux) (2021) It's a visceral film, fervent and sensual, flooded with unruly emotions. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2021
88% Supernova (2021) A nice movie about nice people. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2021
75% Prisoners of the Ghostland (2021) If you're not into this kind of thing I can't imagine a more excruciating evening. The rest of us will have a ball. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2021
80% Ma Belle, My Beauty (2021) Earthy and sensual in ways most contemporary independent films have forgotten how to be, it's a movie of good food, fine wines and languorous, lusty encounters in the late afternoons. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2021
69% Land (2021) One of the least volatile movies ever made about loss, it's all quite calming and back in the '80s probably would have been a well-regarded CBS Movie of the Week. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2021
94% El Planeta (2021) Ulman's debut feature is the slyest I've seen in ages. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2021
85% Passing (2021) Artful to a fault, the movie lies carefully arranged, as if under glass. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2021
84% On the Count of Three (2021) Shockingly raw performances, but the film feels like a first draft. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2021
70% Cryptozoo (2021) Shaw's defiantly ugly aesthetic is backed by a bratty sense of humor and R-rated antics. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2021
97% Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street (2021) It's genuinely, enormously inspirational to watch this ragtag band of beatniks and beardos turning sinister Madison Avenue techniques into instruments of learning. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2021
86% Strawberry Mansion (2021) Embracing the disruptions of dream logic, this endearingly screwy movie is also achingly sincere, with a tender, romantic streak. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2021
74% The Most Beautiful Boy in the World (2021) All the formal frou-frou by directors Lindström and Petri can't quite conceal that this is basically a more mannered episode of VH1's Where Are They Now? - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2021
100% The Pink Cloud (2021) Written in 2017 and shot in 2019, this eerily prescient picture previsualized our lives under lockdown with unsettling psychological acuity. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2021
100% Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (2021) A powerful portrait of a political moment and one of the most rousing concert films you'll ever see. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
100% Luzzu (2021) It's thoughtfully directed without being showy, the matter-of-fact presentation hammering home how such sad stories are everyday occurrences. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
95% CODA (2021) The movie piles on underdeveloped subplots and contrivances while the supporting cast and day players give performances so cartoonishly broad they can be seen from space. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
65% One for the Road (2021) This is very ardently a young man's picture, full of unreflective nostalgia and self-mythologizing grandeur. As an old fart, my heart went out to it. - Spliced Personality EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 30, 2021
95% You Will Die at Twenty (2021) A wryly funny folk tale of innocence and experience, it's a film about navigating the space between worldliness and godliness. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 29, 2021
85% Our Friend (2020) The whole movie looks like it takes place inside a catalog. Unlike Teague's short story, this is a fistula and feces-free zone. - North Shore Movies EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 21, 2021
100% Identifying Features (Sin Señas Particulares) (2021) There are some images here that will sear themselves into your brain. - North Shore Movies EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 21, 2021
90% The Climb (2020) Would've made my list of last year's best films had there been any way for me to have watched it without possibly killing my elderly relatives. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 19, 2021
46% Locked Down (2021) It has the fast-and-loose energy of a first draft thrown together on the fly. There's nothing streamlined or sanded down at all about the picture. - North Shore Movies EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2021
50% Stallone: Frank, That Is (2020) An early contender for the saddest film of the year, it's like if Fredo Corleone's 'I'm smart and I want respect!' speech went on for 73 minutes. - North Shore Movies EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 11, 2021
76% Pieces of a Woman (2020) I suppose one can admire the technical bravado required to choreograph the '1917' of crib death while also wondering why such a thing would be necessary. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2021
51% The Midnight Sky (2020) An unexpected spirit of can-do positivity carries it through to a revelation you can see coming lightyears away, yet made me cry all the same. Look, it's been a long year. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 17, 2020
93% Sylvie's Love (2020) These perfectly painted sets and impeccably pressed clothes aren't attempting to replicate reality, but rather a dream life in the movies from which people who look like the cast of 'Sylvie's Love' have always been excluded. Until now. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 17, 2020
95% To the Ends of the Earth (Tabi no Owari Sekai no Hajimari) (2020) The search for authentic experiences in our over-mediated age can be an elusive one, almost as slippery as this provocative mood piece. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 17, 2020
98% Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020) Boseman's performance feels like the first role in the electrifying second act of a career cut heartbreakingly short. What an incalculable loss. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 17, 2020
70% Tenet (2020) Garbled nonsense of a most entertaining order, it's basically a Christopher Nolan fetish film. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 17, 2020
89% Let Them All Talk (2020) Individual vignettes have purpose and snap even if the larger point of it all remains a little fuzzy and out of focus. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 17, 2020
88% Chungking Express (1996) Possibly the most endearing movie ever made, it's Wong Kar Wai's most exuberant work, an uncharacteristically sunny, whirling dervish of a picture positively drunk on its own technique. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2020
90% In the Mood for Love (2001) Edited in such an elliptical fashion that feels like you're remembering the movie even while you're seeing it for the first time, there's perhaps never been a more perfectly distilled depiction of unrequited longing. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 11, 2020
81% I'm Your Woman (2020) If only the film's execution were half as exciting as its ideas. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2020
68% Ammonite (2020) A reminder of what a richly, rigorously disciplined performer Winslet can be, and of the sheer volume of emotions she can cram into a lingering glance. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2020
96% Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan (2020) A slurry, only slightly reliable history of the snaggle-toothed singer's ups and downs in an unforgiving industry he never had much use for to begin with. - North Shore Movies EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2020
89% Black Bear (2020) As enjoyable as I found the 'Virginia Woolf' mechanics and Cassavetes homages, I'm not convinced it adds up to much more than a skillful genuflection to some excellent influences. - North Shore Movies EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2020
88% THE GODFATHER, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone (2020) Coppola's revelatory revision feels like a far more focused and purposeful film, even if there are some things that can't be fixed in an editing room. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 7, 2020
92% Another Round (Druk) (2020) Carries with it a lightheaded, libertine kick, thoughtfully exploring the social structures in which boozing has become embedded with wry humor and a great deal of ambivalence. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 2, 2020
18% Stardust (2020) It's like if 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and 'Green Book' had a really ugly baby. - North Shore Movies EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 1, 2020