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
95% Atlantics (2019) A slippery, spellbinding debut thick with atmosphere and longing. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 6, 2019
97% Knives Out (2019) The kind of movie they say they don't make anymore, it's a smashing, old fashioned entertainment with a saucy, contemporary edge. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 26, 2019
96% Marriage Story (2019) Like most Baumbach movies, this one's way overwritten and a touch too pleased with itself, but also contains some fine performances and bitter truths. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 23, 2019
95% A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) There's a reason 'Citizen Kane' didn't devote half the movie to the home life of the reporter investigating Rosebud. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 23, 2019
82% The Report (2019) Burns keeps the pace percolating with the jittery handheld energy and slinky synthesizer sounds associated with Soderbergh, if not his mentor's gift for indelible images. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
96% The Irishman (2019) A career capstone for its creators, summing up 40-odd years of movies about masculinity in crisis and the wages of sin. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 15, 2019
77% Doctor Sleep (2019) A doggedly prosaic sequel to a movie that defies understanding. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
79% Jojo Rabbit (2019) This is a deeply, distressingly insulated picture. It's the Funko Pop Collector's Edition of 'Shoah'. - New England Movies Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
96% Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound (2019) It's not a movie concerned with gizmos and gadgets so much as it is fascinated by the way these tools are used to elicit feelings from people sitting out there in the dark. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
93% Western Stars (2019) Who says you can't teach an old Boss new tricks? - New England Movies Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
97% Dolemite Is My Name (2019) A bawdy, big-hearted romp. It's hard to think of the last time I saw a movie made with such a spirit of generosity. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
88% QT8: The First Eight (2019) I mean jeez, it's a two-hour documentary about Quentin Tarantino movies that never once mentions women's feet. - New England Movies Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2019
91% The Lighthouse (2019) All the rib-nudging phallic imagery makes 'The Lighthouse' feel like the world's most elaborate penis joke, cackling at the erect, elongated title structure and the seamen stuck inside, ready to blow. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2019
99% Parasite (Gisaengchung) (2019) Bong Joon Ho makes genre movies about ideas. His films turn ideology into action, and every shot in 'Parasite' is some sort of argument. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2019
97% Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria) (2019) A triumph for Banderas. It's the kind of performance that makes you feel like you're seeing a familiar face for the first time. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2019
91% El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019) It's a completely unnecessary and terrifically entertaining exercise in fan service answering questions nobody asked. - New England Movies Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 12, 2019
22% Lucy in the Sky (2019) Hawley leaves out the diaper detail, which is a shame because the movie's so full of s--t it could've used one. - New England Movies Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
41% The Laundromat (2019) Weirdly half-baked and under-realized, the most slapdash of the director's efforts since his 2002 'Full Frontal.' - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2019
69% Joker (2019) The movie wobbles under the weight of its own self-importance, carrying on as if imparting some sort of serious social commentary while being extremely careful not to actually say anything at all. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
96% First Love (Hatsukoi) (2019) The movie doesn't have a thing on its mind besides mayhem and I enjoyed it enormously. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
22% Running with the Devil (2019) As long as the movie sticks with Fishburne it's a blast. Unfortunately, Cabell has bigger ambitions. - New England Movies Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
93% Monos (2019) 'Monos' has a trippy, hypnotic energy that calls to mind such rumbles in the jungle as 'Apocalypse Now' and 'Aguirre, the Wrath of God.' - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 3, 2019
27% Rambo: Last Blood (2019) A reactionary crock even by the standards of this series, and the dullest of all the Rambo movies by several measures. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2019
97% Tigers Are Not Afraid (Vuelven) (2019) A heightened, harrowing children's adventure spiked with moments of pure terror, great sadness and pointed politics if you're listening for them. This is one hell of a movie. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 20, 2019
100% One Cut of the Dead (Kamera o tomeru na!) (2019) Despite the opening salvos of splatter, 'One Cut of the Dead' turns out to be terribly sweet, reminiscent of 'Waiting for Guffman' and 'Bowfinger.' - New England Movies Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2019
63% It Chapter Two (2019) Just because King makes fun of himself for not being able to write a decent finish doesn't mean we should let him off the hook for this one. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
17% The Fanatic (2019) This isn't one of those bad Travolta movies that's a hoot like 'Gotti' or 'Speed Kills.' It just leaves you feeling icky. - New England Movies Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
97% La Dolce Vita (1960) Seven nights become seven mornings, with episodic interludes intentionally echoing one another in provocative, sometimes blasphemous ways, the scared alternating with the profane. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
83% This is not Berlin (2019) Sama shoots this all as a swirl of sensation, with lots of dreamy, sexed-up montages and druggy interludes. The chronology isn't always entirely clear but what comes through is an intensity of feeling. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 29, 2019
100% Apocalypse Now: Final Cut (2019) The first cut was the deepest. - New England Movies Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 25, 2019
85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) Tarantino has made the most Gen X movie ever. It's all about being surrounded by sexy, scowling millennials who hate your guts and the moral of the story is that baby boomers ruined everything. - New England Movies Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2019
48% Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019) It's the kind of movie that sends you out afterward wanting to read the book, if only to figure out what they were all trying to get at here. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2019
89% Blinded by the Light (2019) I spent at least half of the running time rolling my eyes, but every once in a while it won me over. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2019
86% Heat (1995) The most meticulously designed of Mann's features, with careful compositions positioning the characters against bustling cityscapes and empty expanses that externalize their interior lives. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2019
87% The Nightingale (2019) Kent's gaze is steady in a manner that reminded me of Ingmar Bergman's 'The Virgin Spring' in its unblinking absence of affect, leaving room for the evil to shock us with its flatness and banality. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 14, 2019
67% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) It's more fun than the last two lackluster 'Furious' films, and you can do a lot worse at the movies in August. - New England Movies Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 5, 2019
85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) Tarantino's warmest film since 'Jackie Brown,' and his funniest since 'Pulp Fiction.' - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 25, 2019
53% The Lion King (2019) Every aesthetic choice here has been made to tone down the material, making it less vivid, less expressive, less animated. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2019
57% Aladdin (2019) A spectacularly tedious and unimaginative film. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2019
83% The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) Above all, it is the ineffable, broken sadness of the haunted alien at its center that registers most powerfully. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 18, 2019
83% Crawl (2019) The best movie of its kind since Blake Lively fought that shark. - New England Movies Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 13, 2019
79% Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love (2019) It feels tacky and ungallant of Broomfield to be parading his old relationship around like this. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 13, 2019
90% Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) There's an incredibly charming high school romance here, but it's buried under 'Iron Man 4.' - New England Movies Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2019
58% Under the Silver Lake (2019) A millennial, movie-mad hall of mirrors that's designed to drive you a little bit crazy, containing elements both witheringly astute and shockingly lame. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 6, 2019
83% Midsommar (2019) A droll comedy of manners, an irresistible revenge fantasy and a warning to bad boyfriends everywhere. It's the best breakup movie I've seen in ages. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 1, 2019
74% The Spy Behind Home Plate (2019) There's an overreliance on familiar stock footage and the kind of chintzy production music you hear in industrial videos. It feels like something you'd be forced to watch in school. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 26, 2019
36% Anna (2019) An intermittently entertaining wallow through the director's familiar fetishes. - New England Movies Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 25, 2019
97% Toy Story 4 (2019) Mildly amusing and profoundly unnecessary, it's got everything you're looking for except for anything new. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2019
89% Titanic (1997) In recent years I've come around to thinking that a more nuanced version of the tale with better-rounded characters wouldn't resonate as powerfully as Cameron's shamelessly bold, sometimes silly strokes. - The ARTery EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2019
32% Shaft (2019) How could they do this to John Shaft? - New England Movies Weekly EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 18, 2019