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July 14, 2006|By MICHAEL SRAGOW AND CHRIS KALTENBACH | MICHAEL SRAGOW AND CHRIS KALTENBACH,SUN MOVIE CRITICS

Capsules by Michael Sragow and Chris Kaltenbach. Full reviews at baltimoresun.com/movies.

An Inconvenient Truth -- is more than a documentary of Al Gore's dynamic traveling slide show about global warming. It's a spiritual autobiography and a call to conscience that rests on Gore's credibility as a student of ecology and an individual engaged in the key conflicts of his time. (M.S.) PG 100 minutes A

The Break-Up -- is half a great movie: a biting, hard-hearted comedic look at what happens when former lovers begin using each other as emotional punching bags. But The Break-Up doesn't offer insight into how the attraction between Vince Vaughn's Gary and Jennifer Aniston's Brooke arose. (C.K.) PG-13 105 minutes B

Cars, -- the latest computer-animated universe from director John Lasseter, contains only automobiles that have human features. But these cars overflow with heart, wit and new ideas. (M.S.) G 116 minutes A

Clean -- is an eloquent, evanescent movie about the up-and-down attempt of a drug-addict mother (Maggie Cheung) to gain enough stability to reclaim custody of her son. (M.S.) R 110 minutes B+

Click -- continues the process of watching Adam Sandler mature onscreen. The frat-boy humor remains, but it's leavened by honest heart, compelling inventiveness and the acknowledgment that not everything in life exists to be snickered at. (C.K.) PG-13 98 minutes B-

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu -- follows a solitary 63-year-old in a Bucharest suburb one fateful Saturday night, when he attempts to get medical help after a day of crippling headaches, nausea and stomach pains. It begins like the worst kind of grimy-stained kitchen-sink drama but grows into an existential epic. (M.S.) R 153 minutes A

The Devil Wears Prada, -- Lauren Weisberger's trashy best-seller about the terrors of working for a fashion-media tyrant becomes a film about the pursuit of excellence and self-knowledge. The moviemakers put the material on lifts - and end up tripping into TV dramedy land. Luckily, Meryl Streep is such a consummate actress that she wrings the full witchery out of the title character, even though she dedicates herself to "rounding out" a character that, in print, is simply undiluted evil. (M.S.) PG-13 110 minutes. C+

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, -- the third and best entry in the series, brings American bad-boy racer Lucas Black to Tokyo and introduces him to "drifting": a form of racing perfected on Japan's mountains and parking garages. The cars seem to move like high-speed hovercrafts, and the youthful crowds help give this spectacle a cavalcade of kicks. (M.S.) PG-13 105 minutes B+

The Lake House -- features a mailbox that functions as a time portal and allows lonely doctor Sandra Bullock and lonely architect Keanu Reeves to correspond even though they live two years apart. It's so pitifully low on invention, it keeps reminding you of previous romantic retreads. (M.S.) PG 98 minutes C+

Nacho Libre -- as a romantic comedy is cute. As an introduction to Mexican wrestling it promises more than it delivers. As a mix of the two, the film never seems to find its footing. Fans of star Jack Black are going to expect a gonzo romp. Fans of writer-director Jared Hess are going to expect a reprise of his Napoleon Dynamite. Neither side is going to be satisfied. (C.K.) PG 90 minutes C+

Over the Hedge -- is the tale of forest critters' introduction to the pleasures and dangers of suburbia. It has animals that will appeal to the young, humor that will appeal to adolescents, tongue-in-cheek sophistication that will endear itself to adults and an appreciation of its animated predecessors that should warm the hearts of veteran moviegoers. (C.K.) PG 86 minutes A-

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest -- , is everything you feared the first would be: a theme-park spectacle lasting 2 1/2 hours. It doesn't just make you seasick - the action on land is equally overblown, repetitive and clumsy. (M.S.) PG-13 151 minutes D+

A Prairie Home Companion -- is a down-home-exquisite musical dramedy. It fills you with a joyful noise even when the subject is mortality. Working from a script by Garrison Keillor, with some of the personalities and/or characters from Keillor's radio show, director Robert Altman achieves a homespun-gossamer texture. (M.S.) PG-13 105 minutes A

The Proposition -- is one of those grand, mythic Westerns. Only this rough-hewn land isn't the American West, but the Australian Outback. This terrific film sounds like something out of the Sam Peckinpah playbook. (C.K.) R 104 minutes B+

Superman Returns -- is slavishly reverential and morose - it presents the Man of Steel (Brandon Routh) as a messiah from the pages of The Da Vinci Code. Its one good running joke is the way everyone wonders how far Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) went with the big guy in the past, when she spent the night with him. The movie contains a dozen winning moments, but too much of it plays like a near-death experience. (M.S.) PG-13 154 minutes C+

Wordplay -- is a small triumph of infusing personality into formula. Director Patrick Creadon and producer Christine O'Malley mold their documentary around puzzle-solvers anticipating the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. (M.S.) PG 85 minutes A-

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