Ralph Novak

Ralph Novak
Tomatometer-approved critic
Publications: People Magazine

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
68% National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) Every comic turn is predictable-from the electrocuted cat to the Scrooge-ified ending. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 12, 2020
90% City Slickers (1991) The first half of this film is very funny, in a Hee Haw vs. thirtysomething way. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 11, 2020
82% Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) If you don't mind your comic books being filled with incessant shootings, explosions, knifings, drownings, stranglings, car crashes, fires and the use of automatic nail drivers as weapons, it's a lot of fun. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 3, 2020
71% Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) Let's get right to it, which is what director Joe Dante does: This movie has no surprises, just a bigger dose of the bizarre, sadistic, ugly little creatures that surfaced in the original. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2020
92% Reversal of Fortune (1990) Mixing reality and fiction, without using that mixture to produce any substantial addition to our knowledge, this movie at once goes too far and not far enough. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 15, 2020
59% Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995) While it isn't as insultingly dopey as the first two films in this series, this Die Hard is every bit as violent, obscene and implausible. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 1, 2019
20% Friday the 13th - The Final Chapter (1984) Nobody under 13 should be allowed to see this movie. Nobody over 13 should want to. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 27, 2019
21% Harlem Nights (1989) What this film suffers from is lack of fun. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 26, 2019
64% Pretty Woman (1990) Despite its cornball attributes-maybe because of them-this is a sweetheart of an old-fashioned romantic comedy. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2019
60% Green Card (1990) Silly and obvious as this romantic comedy is (and its script would have seemed dated in 1942), it might have mustered a considerable charm if Depardieu had been better matched in his first American film. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2019
13% Nothing but Trouble (1991) After a few minutes, it's clear that this comedy is not enigmatic -- just hopelessly confused. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 3, 2018
68% Antonia (Antonia's Line) (1995) Morbid and overwrought. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 4, 2016
94% Boyz n the Hood (1991) While it's often as pedantic and square as an Army training film, this movie about black teens trying to grow up in a gang-plagued South Central Los Angeles area generates strong emotions. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2016
57% Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991) Sorry, dudes: This is a totally bogus sequel. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 29, 2016
41% Pure Country (1992) If it were any cornier or mushier, it would be chowder, but this vehicle for country singer Strait generates a charming sweetness, the music is lively, and both Strait and Glasser are ingratiating new faces. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 18, 2016
70% Purple Rain (1984) Simplistic, superficial and surprisingly sentimental, Purple Rain is everything Prince's music is not. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 21, 2016
87% The Big Picture (1989) Partly romance, partly fantasy, partly satire on what passes for life in Hollywood -- and all charm -- this movie even has a perfect title. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2016
81% A Dry White Season (1989) This movie, directed by a black Martiniquan, Euzhan Palcy, is far more effective [than Cry Freedom] at keeping black actors -- and the essential problem of South Africa -- onscreen. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 28, 2015
37% A View to a Kill (1985) The strain is starting to show on 007. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 21, 2015
66% Back to the Future Part II (1989) This is a sequel for sequel's sake - all title, no content. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 29, 2015
81% Jungle Fever (1991) You'll remember Sciorra and Snipes but wish you had learned more about them -- and the society that complicates their lives so cruelly. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 21, 2015
69% Die Hard 2 (1990) One might think a movie with a reported budget of $62 million would have had a few bucks to spend on a gaffe spotter. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 3, 2015
35% The Woman in Red (1984) The film drones on through all the clichés of infidelity to a resolution that isn't emotionally, morally or comedically satisfying. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 23, 2015
94% The Crying Game (1992) [An] exhilarating whirlwind of a drama. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 9, 2015
93% Do the Right Thing (1989) If Lee is saying that racism is profoundly painful, frustrating and confusing, no one will argue. But this film states the case without offering any insight. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 3, 2015
89% The Hunt for Red October (1990) This is first-rate adventure stuff, an all-missions-accomplished submarine movie. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2015
73% Cry-Baby (1990) Waters's writing is woefully uneven. It's as if Sam Kinison had decided to tell knock-knock jokes -- sterile, unfunny knock-knock jokes at that. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 21, 2015
67% Prancer (1989) It's a tribute to veteran TV writer Greg Taylor's script and, especially, to the acting of 9-year-old Ms. Harrell that the movie remains engaging and palatably sweet. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2014
88% Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll (1987) Hackford just lets his cameras roll -- and the film rocks. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2014
88% Light Sleeper (1992) While Dafoe has made a career of looking wasted, and does cynicism better than anyone around, he too is handicapped by his unsympathetic character and Schrader's clumsily unidiomatic script. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 9, 2014
73% Jacob's Ladder (1990) Just when it's on the brink of becoming one of the most disturbing, disorienting and penetrating psychological horror movies, Jacob's Ladder -- in a self-deflating few minutes -- turns itself into a shaggy-dog story. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 23, 2014
35% Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II - The Secret of the Ooze (1991) This swindle of a sequel is so dim that it looks as if it were lit by candles. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 6, 2014
40% Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie (1990) A movie that displays two traits nobody would ever associate with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: It is grim and it is no fun. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 6, 2014
91% No Way Out (1987) As befits the title, it dead-ends long before it's over. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2014
6% Mobsters (1991) To say that production designer Richard Sylbert, costume designer Ellen Mirojnick and cinematographer Lajos Koltai give the settings a handsome, authentic look is like saying that the Titanic had nice chandeliers. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 25, 2014
19% Navy Seals (1990) Anyone in the market for some B-film Arab-bashing might find this movie tolerable entertainment. It's otherwise destined to make its biggest impact among Charlie Sheen archivists. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 14, 2014
5% A Kid in King Arthur's Court (1995) This lame effort, Disney's latest live-action motion picture for children, owes a big, fat nod for its plot to Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. In no way, however, does it improve upon the original - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 8, 2014
79% My Own Private Idaho (1991) The two actors create vivid characters, but they're so unsympathetic and Van Sant drags them through so many tiresome, pretentious scenes that it begins to look as if Phoenix's narcolepsy isn't part of the plot. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 2, 2014
77% Licence To Kill (1989) This series' record of maintaining an admirable level of quality stays intact, even if this film might best be used as a cinematic appetizer to see before renting a tape of one of the Connery or Moore classics. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 20, 2014
63% The Sandlot (1993) Any of Charles Schulz's baseball-oriented Peanuts strips contains more understanding of baseball and more insight into children, as well as more pointed fun. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 7, 2014
87% Field of Dreams (1989) Alden's script goes from charming to preposterous to preachy. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 6, 2014
79% A League of Their Own (1992) The movie drones along uninvolvingly, as if it were erecting a monument, not telling a story. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 6, 2014
82% The Natural (1984) The scouting report on The Natural has to read: lots of tools but no heart. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 6, 2014
65% Cobb (1994) A curiously gripping amalgam of Patton, Citizen Kane and Melvin and Howard. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 6, 2014
No Score Yet Bolero (1984) Is this a bad satire? No, it's a bad serious romance. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 5, 2014
4% Wired (1989) The reenacted Saturday Night Live routines that made Belushi a star seem grim. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 4, 2014
7% Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992) All right, maybe the world isn't flat. But this listless historical epic sure is. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted May 3, 2014
No Score Yet Problem Child (1990) The end is refreshingly less sentimental than it seems to be shaping up to be, but the film's ugly moments can't help but leave a bad taste. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 30, 2014
51% Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) This is a big, colorful, sharp-witted and beautifully photographed rendering of the tale of the olde English guerrilla fighter -- two solidly entertaining hours. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2014
87% Once Upon a Time in America (1984) The film, photographed by Tonino Delli Colli, is striking to look at, especially its New York street scenes, which were shot in Manhattan, Montreal and a back lot near Rome. The acting is stunning. - People Magazine EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 22, 2014