New movie releases this week include Katherine Heigl’s return to the big screen, plus The Promise, Truman, and more
Matthew Lickona 6 p.m., April 21
“Why can’t you simply put your critical faculties on hold long enough to sit back and enjoy the damn movie?” The question comes up — particularly in the summer months — more times than I care to remember. Olympus Has Fallen is the answer to discerning action fan’s prayers: an armrest-squeezing, seat-shifting blockbuster that never lets up. North Korean terrorists hold the White House hostage, and it’s up to Gerard Butler, a disgraced former Secret Service man once assigned to presidential guard duty, to get back inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue the hard way and reset the course of history. On the surface, it represents everything contemptible about contemporary cinema — a propagandistic, effects-driven cavalcade of carnage that probably boasts a higher body count than all of George Romero’s “living dead” safaris combined — but damn if (for a change) this wasn’t an effectively constructed thrill ride I enjoyed hopping. Antoine Fuqua directs. With Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, and Rick Yune. 2013.