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
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
89% 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 78% 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 71% 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 25% 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
51% 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 11% 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 69% 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
90% 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 27% 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
38% 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 17% 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 55% 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 84% 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 53% 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 97% 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 96% 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 51% 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 32% 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+ 23% 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 41% 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
B 90% John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) This isn't a movie you watch for story, but the stuff you do watch for is present in ample supply. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
B- 68% Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) As someone far outside the target demo, I found Detective Pikachu unobjectionable, if forgettable. But as for the generation(s) steeped in the minutia of this stuff? Warner Brothers is sure to catch them all. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted May 10, 2019
A 94% Avengers: Endgame (2019) Spellbinding, surprising, and immensely satisfying. Eleven years, twenty-two films, one singular cinematic achievement the likes of which we've never seen before and aren't likely to again for a long time to come - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2019
D 17% Hellboy (2019) Imagine a film where almost every single creative choice constitutes some kind of a misstep, and you have a sense of what this is like. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 12, 2019
B 53% Meet Joe Black (1998) Meet Joe Black marks the latest in a succession of strong turns by Anthony Hopkins. More than even [Brad] Pitt, the film serves as a showcase for the versatile and talented Oscar winner. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
A 86% Star Trek Beyond (2016) A welcome refresh that again grounds the series in the spirit of idealism and optimism that were at the forefront of creator Gene Roddenberry's thinking, and which have no expiration date. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
C+ 84% Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) Gleefully scavenges familiar moments from prior iterations of the brand, but with none of the accrued emotional heft. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
A 94% Star Trek (2009) The 2009 model Star Trek is laced with the fresh thrill of discovery. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
D 38% Star Trek - Nemesis (2002) The least involving, least cohesive movie in the entire ten picture catalog. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
C- 54% Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) Content to skate on the pre-existing audience's fondness for these characters and the Star Trek brand. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
A- 93% Star Trek: First Contact (1996) First Contact just works. It works as a rousing chapter in the Star Trek saga, and to a lesser extent it works as mainstream entertainment - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
C- 47% Star Trek Generations (1994) Pretty much everything from the time Kirk leaves to the time he reappears is a distraction. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
C 91% James and the Giant Peach (1996) ...valiantly attempts to convey the amazement and childlike sense-of-wonder so characteristic of the late Dahl's books, and while it does succeed occasionally, more often than not it falls flat. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 11, 2019
B+ 52% The World Is Not Enough (1999) All the various gears and pulleys that go together to make a Bond film run like a well-oiled machine are at work here. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 9, 2019
B+ 90% Shazam! (2019) Shazam! has big action, big laughs, and a big heart underneath. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2019
A 81% Star Trek VI - The Undiscovered Country (1991) It's at once gripping, humorous, emotional, and immensely satisfying. An appropriate and fitting farewell to the finest crew in the fleet. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2019
C 22% Star Trek V - The Final Frontier (1989) The real tragedy of Trek V is that there are faint glimmers throughout, poking through the wreckage, of the deeper meaning the filmmakers were striving for. - Zaki's Corner EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 8, 2019