Picks and Pans Review: Also Playing

updated 09/01/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/01/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Ben Kingsley skips his usual scenery-chewing for a mesmerizing, restrained turn as a college professor confronting his mortality who falls hard for student Penélope Cruz (also divine). A splendid drama based on Philip Roth's short novel The Dying Animal. (R)

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In this trite family comedy based on a true story, Ice Cube is a jobless ex-jock who coaches his preteen niece (Akeelah and the Bee's Keke Palmer) into a star Pop Warner football quarterback. You'll leave the theater saturated with schmaltz. (PG)

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