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June 20, 2008

Capsules by Michael Sragow or Chris Kaltenbach, unless noted. Full reviews are at baltimoresun.com/movies.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian: The four children from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe return to their beloved kingdom of Narnia and attempt to liberate it from evil humans with the help of a rebel prince, Caspian. It's a spectacle of marvels filled with terror, love and joy. (M.S.) PG 140 minutes A

Kung Fu Panda : Reared to be a noodlemaker, roly-poly panda Po (Jack Black), the hero of this martial-arts cartoon, leaps into the chop-socky big leagues when he accidentally wins a competition to find the Dragon Warrior. The film hits its stride when Po goes one on one with Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), a red panda who is as fleet and sharp as Po is roly-poly and fuzzy. Overall it has a cuddly kapow. (M.S.) PG 88 minutes B

The Happening: Plants go on the attack against humans who are so banal they might as well be vegetables, including Mark Wahlberg as a Philadelphia teacher and Zooey Deschanel as his wife. Where are all the cheap thrills and artful dodges? Director M. Night Shyamalan has said he wanted to create the best B-movie made, but it fails to be the best C movie of the month. (M.S.) R 90 minutes C-

The Incredible Hulk: Idealistic scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) tries to find an antidote to the gamma-radiation poisoning that makes him transform into the Hulk in states of excitement or stress. This movie brings new meaning to the phrase "hit or miss" - when a legendary figure like the Hulk hits, the impact is startling, and even when he fans, he generates gale force. (M.S.) PG-13 114 minutes B

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) fights a Soviet super-agent for the Crystal Skull of Akator, an otherworldly artifact possessing mystical powers. Amid a string of hilarious and outlandish shocks, Harrison Ford makes Indy more engaging than ever. You also get Karen Allen and Shia LaBeouf. (M.S.) PG-13 120 minutes B+

Speed Racer: In this live-actor version of the Japanese cartoon, an auto-racing champ named Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) takes on the sleazy corporate giants who control the sport. The writing-directing Wachowski brothers - Andy and Larry - create a psychedelic candy store, but it's a family film done as a trip film - and it is a trip, but it's a bad trip. (M.S.) PG 129 minutes C

Sex and the City: The movie extends the series finale's soapier aspects into an agony-thon about Miranda's marriage, Samantha's efforts to stay faithful and Carrie's on-and-off romance with Mr. Big. At 2 1/2 hours, is it like five TV episodes stitched together? No such luck. It's more like a single episode padded out. (M.S.) R 135 minutes C-

Stuck: A female driver (Mena Suvari) hits a homeless pedestrian and leaves him snagged and disabled in her windshield. The scoop: It slaps endless reminders of social significance over their fictional version of a real-life case and turns it into a banal horror movie. (M.S.) R 85 minutes C+

What Happens in Vegas: After drunken nuptials in Vegas, a slacker (Ashton Kutcher) and a go-getter (Cameron Diaz) win $3 million and are sentenced to "six months hard marriage" before they can get an annulment. Like a numb-skulled high-school comedy geek working off adolescent sexual heat with coarse gags and innuendo, the film has its head in the toilet and its hands in the lingerie drawer. (M.S.) PG-13 99 minutes D

You Don't Mess With the Zohan: Adam Sandler plays an Israeli commando who fantasizes about being a hairdresser and fulfills his dream when he fakes his death and flies to New York. The movie bloats, and the humor wears thin, but it's still one of Adam Sandler's sturdier vehicles. That's consumer guidance - not high praise. (M.S.) PG-13 112 minutes C+

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