Short reviews of movies playing throughout the Tampa Bay area.

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28 DAYS LATER (R) The country's been devastated by a strange virus and small bands of ragtag survivors fight off hordes of snarling, once-human creatures in this horror movie for the New Dark Ages. Despite the occasional burst of warmth and light, 28 Days Later is a fiercely gritty and even ugly affair, made even more so by jittery editing and the flat, no-frills look of its digital video footage. Many will find the tone a little too faux-hip frenetic (flying in the face of tradition, these zombies move fast), but the raw power and ambitious scale of this blood-drenched journey into the heart of darkness can't be denied. Stars Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Megan Burns and Brendan Gleeson.

AMERICAN WEDDING (R) American Wedding brings us to the third and hopefully final chapter of the American Pie saga. In this installment, we find some of the original cast missing while those remaining are left with the task of planning a wedding for Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan). The missing characters actually allow for the rest to become a bit more developed, if more annoying, as is the case with Stifler (Sean William Scott). Hijinks ensue as the characters travel on to the next level of disgusting behavior, most of which puts Jim or Stifler into situations that are anywhere from mildly embarrassing to downright humiliating. Amercian Wedding reaches new peaks of absurdity, but its rudimentary style works somehow. Despite the predictable slapstick and unoriginal story line, the movie is surprisingly entertaining. —Leilani Polk

BAD BOYS II (R) Nothing more than the traditional buddy cops action-adventure, this predictable flick is full of gory, gratuitous violence set around the heart of Miami. Body-bagged corpses fly from vehicles in high-speed car chases and bullets splat foreheads and hit other unmentionable body parts, becoming the butt of many jokes. In the midst of all the stylized stunts, co-stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence share several laugh-out-loud scenes that lighten the mood, but also digress from the boys' original purpose of taking down ecstasy traffickers in this two-and-a-half-hour sequel. Also stars Gabrielle Union. 1/2—Sharilyn Wiskup

BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM (PG-13) A far more satisfying spin on modern gals grappling with Old World cultural values (and cliches) than My Big Fat Greek Wedding. At the center of the story is Jess (Jesminder to her parents), a nice Indian girl who just wants to follow her dream to play soccer, much to the dismay of dear old mum and dad. Much of what follows is fairly predictable but ultimately winning stuff. Director Gurinder Chadha (Bhaji on the Beach) toys with scores of cliches and conventions, but manages to transcend them all by keeping a firm grip on the bottom line: creating appealing and believable characters, and giving them an interesting and convincing world to live in. The movie gives us a little bit of everything, crossing smoothly from genre to genre and packing all of its elements tightly together in one groovy little package: romantic comedy, coming-of-age drama, sports movie. Stars Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Anupam Kher.

CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE (PG-13) If you liked the first one, odds are this sequel will do the trick too. Full Throttle follows the same exact model as the first Charlie's Angels movie and piles on more of everything that made the original so popular. There's more comedy (pretty much everything here is played for laughs), more silly sexual innuendoes, bigger explosions and more costume changes and cute outfits. The girls all seem to be having the time of their lives as they giggle, shake their booties to MC Hammer and divide their time between ogling boys and kicking some serious male butt (although some of the choicest scenes are the cat fights, of course). Demi Moore shows up, too, flashing her hard body and blinding white smile, the bones in her face jutting out at such dramatic angles it feels like you could cut yourself just by looking at her. Stars Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Bernie Mac.

THE EYE (R) Riding in on the wave of Asian horror ushered into the West by The Ring comes this effective but not particularly original effort by Hong Kong's Pang Brothers, Danny and the wonderfully named Oxide. The Eye tells the story of Mun, a blind girl who undergoes a cornea transplant and winds up seeing more than she wants to. Shadowy, black-clad figures who look suspiciously like mimes begin turning up, as well as a number of considerably creepier sights, and it soon becomes clear that Mun's visions are direct glimpses into the not-so-sweet hereafter. The I-see-dead-people stuff is straight out of The Sixth Sense, while the film also manages to cram in nods to everything from The Mothman Prophecies to The Eyes of Laura Mars, but it's all fused into a mostly entertaining and surprisingly scary whole. An American remake is reportedly in the works, so see this one first so you can one-up your friends by telling them how much better the original was. Stars Sin-Je Lee, Laurence Chou and Cutcha Rujinanon. 1/2

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