Olympus Has Fallen, the first of two thrillers about a terrorist takeover of the White House, is being taken out by critics the way the terrorists are taken out by GÃ©rard Butler's character in the movie. Robert Abele in the Los Angeles Times describes it as a typical slab of Hollywood action in which the White House crumbles under attack, the American flag is tattered and tossed aside by baddies, and cliches rise like gods. A.O. Scott in the New York Times writes that it may appeal to viewers who need a dose of bloated, moronic pseudo-patriotism right now. Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal calls it a nitwit extravaganza that makes you long for the intellectual depth of Independence Day. Claudia Puig in USA Today is one of several critics who compare the film with the Die Hard movies. However, she writes, it doesn't have the tension or the funny one-liners of the original Die Hard. The special effects are schlocky, the action lumbering. But Steven Rea in the Philadelphia Inquirer refers to it as the enjoyably tacky Die Hard-on-the-Potomac. And Mick LaSalle doesn't really have a negative thing to say about Olympus. It is, he remarks, a work of craftsmanship that commands respect, at times even awe. It's that wonderful, totally unambitious yet satisfying thing, a really good movie.
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.