Film: Strange Days at the Cinema 

There are a few feature films out this winter that will surprise, but that doesn't mean they are any less weird. "Bubble," created by Steven Soderbergh, takes the director back to his independent "Sex, Lies and Videotape" roots for a story about murder among trailer parks and sweatshops. This small-town crime-drama bears more relation to the work of other independents, like Jim Jarmusch and the Coen brothers, than its "Ocean's Eleven" maker.

Their will be no dearth of the documentary in 2006 and winter will be no different. "Why We Fight" opened in major cities Jan. 20 and should make its way to Richmond sometime before the thaw. A standout for those wondering why American history keeps repeating itself with heedless wars, it will probably be more interesting than its subject — the rise of the military-industrial complex — suggests.

For a look at what globalization is up to on a contemporary, local scale, there is "Darwin's Nightmare" (previewed in the fall at the Virginia Film Festival and making a theatrical run in late February). By Hubert Sauper, it documents the Nile perch, a cash-crop fish introduced into Tanzania's Lake Victoria to the dismay of the lake's native inhabitants. This alien fish thrives no matter where you put it, but the more specialized, natural inhabitants do not. It's a story about artificial survival done to feed the masses, but to the misery of others. Does this ring a bell for anyone?

Former Style associate editor, Wayne Melton is now a Motion Picture Association of America accredited film critic living in L.A.

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