Report card

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Brokeback Mountain

What It's About: A ranch hand (Heath Ledger) and a small-time rodeo man (Jake Gyllenhaal) fall in love herding sheep on Brokeback Mountain.

Rated: R

The scoop: It's pretty, tasteful and long, but if you're hungering for an old-fashioned male weepy, this is the one for you.

Grade: C

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

What It's About: C.S. Lewis' classic tale of four British children going from the frying pan of London during the Blitz to the cold fire of a battle between good and evil in the fantastic parallel world of Narnia.

Rated: PG

The scoop: A wonderful escape into a landscape filled with marvels as well as cogent moral quandaries - especially when the magnificent Tilda Swinton makes the scene as the White Witch.

Grade: A

Fun With Dick and Jane

What It's About: Upper-middle-class couple (Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni) turns suburban Bonnie and Clyde.

Rated: PG-13

The scoop: Carrey and Leoni team up for some belly-quaking gags, but most of the movie is just as feeble as it was in 1977 with George Segal and Jane Fonda.

Grade: C+

King Kong

What It's About: You know - the beauty and the beast (a 25-foot gorilla), this time with more dinosaurs and creepy critters than ever on Skull Island.

Rated: PG-13

The scoop: Peter Jackson delivers all the thrills you expect from him, and all the emotion, too - Naomi Watts and the big ape are this Christmas' dream couple.

Grade: B+

Memoirs of a Geisha

What It's About: Rob (Chicago) Marshall's adaptation of Arthur Golden's beloved best-seller about Kyoto geisha life at its height.

Rated: PG-13

The scoop: Even with Ziyi Zhang in the lead role (and Gong Li and Michelle Yeoh in support), it's a gorgeous tapestry without human figures compelling enough to anchor it.

Grade: C+

Munich

What It's About: The Israeli government pursues the men it believes planned the slaughter of 11 of its Olympic athletes at the 1972 Summer Games.

Rated: R

The scoop: Turgid, sermonizing and not all that thrilling, this assassination-procedural will still stir up heated talk at your local beanery.

Grade: C-

Pride and Prejudice

What It's About: As in Jane Austen's 1813 novel, potential lovers must see beyond their own, well, pride and prejudice.

Rated: PG

The scoop: Keira Knightley's surprisingly strong star performance makes this latest adaptation more of a date movie than a chick flick.

Grade: B-

The Producers

What It's About: Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane) and Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick) set out to produce the worst show ever put on Broadway.

Rated: PG-13

The scoop: It's at times this rendering of the hit musical is clunky, but it's also infectiously funny, especially when Will Ferrell is on screen as the author of Springtime for Hitler.

Grade: B

The Squid and the Whale

What It's About: It's Brooklyn, 1986, and a frustrated novelist and professor (Jeff Daniels) and his up-and-coming writer wife are on the rocks, much to the chagrin of their sons (Jesse Eisenberg and Owen Kline).

Rated: R

The scoop: To add a third animal to the mix, Noah Baumbach's comedy-drama about his parents' split is like Woody Allen without the bull.

Grade: A-

Walk the Line

What It's About: Country music legend Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) rises, falls and rises again with the love of June Carter Cash (Reese Witherspoon).

Rated: PG-13

The scoop: Phoenix and Witherspoon act - and vocalize - their way into movie legend with their uncanny performances.

Grade: A

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