Zaki Hasan

Zaki Hasan
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Born and raised in Chicago -- with a decade-long detour in Saudi Arabia -- before settling in the San Francisco Bay Area, Zaki Hasan has been a media scholar and critic for more than twenty years. He is a member of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, and his film reviews and analyses have appeared at HuffPost, Philly Weekly, Fandor, Sequart, and more. He is also co-host of the MovieFilm and Nostalgia Theater Podcasts, and co-author of Quirk Books' Geek Wisdom: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture, as well as a contributor to books on the Star Wars, Planet of the Apes, and Blade Runner franchises. Additionally, he has appeared as a panelist on Al Jazeera America's The Stream and HuffPost Live.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
10/10 90% The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) With his second directorial effort, Aaron Sorkin has produced a thoughtful meditation on a truly nightmarish event. - IGN Movies EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2020
6/10 19% The Tax Collector (2020) David Ayer's The Tax Collector is worth a look for the ways it pulls together a small scale production with outsize ambitions. - IGN Movies EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 5, 2020
2.5/4 47% My Spy (2020) It knows exactly what it wants to be and how to get there, and is made more engaging than it probably has any right to be thanks to the oversized charisma of its oversized star. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2020
6/10 40% Irresistible (2020) A few pieces of wisdom to offer and a few laughs scattered throughout, but ultimately feels as inconsequential as the TV talking heads it's trying to critique. - IGN Movies EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2020
9/10 92% Da 5 Bloods (2020) Benefitting from a strong story held together by a solid ensemble, Da 5 Bloods works as a caper, it works as a drama, and it works as a searing commentary on our current cultural moment. - IGN Movies EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 11, 2020
3/4 98% Extra Ordinary (2020) Armed with wit and charm to spare, "Extra Ordinary" is joyful and creative and deserves to find an audience - in this world or the next. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2020
B 78% Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) It's not about stopping a blue beam that's shooting into the sky. Instead, it's about a group of very different women learning to value each other while kicking a lot of tail along the way. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 20, 2020
1/4 7% Fantasy Island (2020) The scares aren't particularly scary, the lessons aren't particularly compelling, and the ultimate resolution takes far too long to arrive at a conclusion that's far too pat. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 14, 2020
3/4 68% Troop Zero (2020) It's not trying to reinvent the wheel with the story it's telling, but it's made memorable by all the ways it adds stardust to the formula. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2020
68% The Godfather, Part III (1990) Allows us to take in the full scope of Michael Corleone's (Al Pacino) tragic journey - from optimistic military veteran to cruel crime boss to emotionally shattered old man. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 10, 2020
75% Shogun (1980) While its depiction of Japanese history is oftentimes dodgy, it nonetheless remains an affecting portrait of Japanese life for American audiences at a time when such a thing just wasn't that common. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2020
No Score Yet Centennial (1978) Even this many decades past the "present" of the story, the narrative and themes of Centennial - about respecting the land so that it respects us - are still as timely as ever. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 2, 2020
82% Avatar (2009) Rewatching it with fresh eyes 10 years later, the movie's pluses and minuses both rise into much starker relief. The verdict: It's...fine. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2019
B- 51% Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) A marked qualitative step down from its immediate predecessor, but it nonetheless ably closes the book on the Skywalker Saga (for now) and proves the Force is still a force. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 18, 2019
3/4 72% Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) It all rests it on a sturdy foundation of character development that's a worthy and natural progression from where we last left the main characters. That's what makes the game worth playing. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 10, 2019
3/4 96% Atlantics (2019) Like the pounding waves that recur throughout, this is a vibrant and confident feature debut for the director, and her arrival on cinema's shores signals big things ahead. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2019
C 64% It Chapter Two (2019) As the ballyhooed wrap-up to a collective five-hour epic, It: Chapter Two feels rushed in a way that's frankly perplexing given how much time is spent on the slow burn for the first two thirds. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2019
88% Rush (2013) Rush is complete unto itself: A gripping beginning, a compelling middle, an electrifying ending. And it's a movie that deserves to find the audience now that raced away the first time. - Birth.Movies.Death. EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2019
90% Blade Runner (1982) Still profound 18 years after its sell-by date, Blade Runner remains worthy of acclaim and analysis even as it exists in a "future" with very little resemblance to the one that came to pass. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 17, 2019
2.5/4 83% Collisions (2019) "Collisions" is a timely examination of a relevant subject, and that timeliness makes it worthy of viewing and discussion even when the execution falls shy of the intended mark. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 8, 2019
C 70% Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) It all has a bit of a karaoke feel. Preexisting archetypes go through predetermined plot points in hopes of arriving at a preordained sequel. We've done this before. We're going to do this again. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 1, 2019
C 40% Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) Jolie is great, Pfeiffer is great, but despite its lead character's impressive wingspan, this second Maleficent fails to cast much of a shadow. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 29, 2019
1/4 26% Countdown (2019) The one thing you can say about "Countdown" is that the title is entirely accurate. Almost from the moment it starts, you're checking your watch waiting for the closing credits to come up. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 24, 2019
3/4 70% The Kill Team (2019) "The Kill Team" serves an essential function by illustrating in agonizing detail not only how easily morality can be subjugated to hate, but how important it is for people of conscience to do the right thing. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2019
C- 26% Gemini Man (2019) It checks all the requisite boxes, but also comes off like a wayward artifact from a bygone era. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2019
52% Stargate (1994) The kind of flick where Kurt Russell dispatches an Anubis-looking baddie after first telling him, in the kind of bon mot that elevates the thing an entire letter grade, "Give my regards to King Tut, a**hole." - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2019
1/4 17% Jexi (2019) Jexi feels hopelessly out of step with the moment. Despite its subject matter, it's a flip phone movie in a smart phone world. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 13, 2019
B 68% Joker (2019) Joker is raw, unsettling, and experimental, anchored by an absolutely mesmerizing central performance. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 5, 2019
91% The Shawshank Redemption (1994) Cinematic alchemy of a kind that's all too rare, propelled by a supremely talented cast, a sumptuous score by Thomas Newman and a first-rate script and direction from first-timer Frank Darabont. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2019
D 26% Rambo: Last Blood (2019) The character deserved better than Last Blood, and so did we. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 1, 2019
100% Godzilla Vs. Destoroyah (2000) The movie that proved that even extinction wasn't enough to stop the King of the Monsters. - Birth.Movies.Death. EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
39% Rambo III (1988) By this time Stallone had become so thoroughly established in the role that he really does manage a lot of the heavy lifting (literally and metaphorically) all by himself. - Birth.Movies.Death. EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
C- 55% Never Been Kissed (1999) Attempts to tap into the sense of missed opportunity that one inevitably leaves high school with. Unfortunately, it fails to offer anything other than that same old crop of clichés. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2019
3/4 16% The Fanatic (2019) "The Fanatic" marks another fascinating stickpin in John Travolta's decades-long journey from leading man to character actor. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 27, 2019
1/4 58% Piranhas (La paranza dei bambini) (2019) Stylistic utility isn't enough to mask the essential emptiness at the heart of the story. When you strip away the novelty of it all, we're left with little more than a kids' meal version of Scarface. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2019
C 67% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) While Johnson and Statham have bags of charisma to spare, all that does is keep this from being worse than it is. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2019
1/4 73% The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019) Things like character and story feel awkwardly inserted edgewise, and cobbled together from scraps found in the "CGI kids' movie" breakout kit. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 12, 2019
3/4 85% Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019) There's a genuine void in the marketplace for offerings like this. It's so joyful and confident in its own premise that it practically dares you not to walk out of the theater with a smile on your face, strutting like a peacock. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
C 52% The Lion King (2019) No doubt, it's impressive to look at. A visual feast. But it also lifts its heart and emotion wholesale from the 1994 version and counts on your preexisting affinity to carry the day. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 31, 2019
3/4 87% The Great Hack (2019) At its best, The Great Hack will alarm you, infuriate you, and - hopefully - activate you. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
B+ 90% Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) A sterling example of the MCU at its best: Likable hero, interesting villain, compelling premise, solid performances all around. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 15, 2019
3/4 94% The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (2019) A fascinating and unsettling look at the ramifications of marital infidelity when shone through [a] specific geopolitical prism. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 11, 2019
3/4 97% Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (2019) While the format as such doesn't allow for a critical push-and-pull, that's not a debit. This is about time well spent on a life well lived. A series of pieces adding up to much more than the whole. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 25, 2019
C 49% The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) Hopkins' direction is competent, and Goldman's screenplay merely serves its purpose. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2019
2/4 33% Being Frank (2019) It adopts a tonally dissonant and thematically confused approach to what is, in essence, little more than a Lifetime movie writ large. - San Francisco Chronicle EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 17, 2019
84% JFK (1991) JFK is so effective that regardless of one's agreement or disagreement with the conclusions director Stone draws from his considerable research, there is simply no denying its success as a work of remarkable persuasive power. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 16, 2019
C+ 23% Men in Black International (2019) MIB: International is a bit like the CSI: Miami of alien hunting sci-fi action-comedies. Sure, it'll do in a pinch if that's what you're in the mood for, yet it lacks the extra something that made the original stand apart. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2019
C+ 22% Dark Phoenix (2019) Dark Phoenix feels in many ways like a vestigial remnant from a past life, but it's also one last hurrah for a series that's been a steady presence for almost twenty years. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2019
B 43% Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) This is a deeply silly movie that knows when to play things totally straight. That might sound like damning it with faint praise, but it's really not. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted May 31, 2019
C 57% Aladdin (2019) If you're a fan of the original, one has to wonder, why not just watch that? Why indulge the company's incessant need to churn out this endless parade of karaoke cosplays instead of giving us whole new worlds? - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted May 24, 2019