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Roy Orbison: Black & White Night 30
Rather than repackage Roy Orbison’s acclaimed 1987 cable special, the producers culled through unused footage and showed the performances from previously unseen angles. The band for this televised, invitation-only nightclub show included a string quartet along with Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen on guitars and a stellar lineup of back-up singers featuring Bonnie Raitt and k.d. lang. Orbison was in prime form singing such pop arias as “Only the Lonely,” “In Dreams” and “Running Scared.”
The Eyes of My Mother
The Appalachian murder ballad that opens the film sets the tone. A grinning serial killer-rapist meets his match in a remote farmhouse; the young girl who witnesses the events grows up lonely, disconnected and perverse. In his wonderfully visual feature film debut, director Nicolas Pesce shows great promise, letting the deliberately paced black-and-white images tell the tale of his Psycho-like narrative. The Eyes of My Mother is especially creepy for what is left unshown.
Pierce Brosnan and Julianna Marguiles performed well outside their comfort zones as actors in Evelyn (2002). Set in 1950s Ireland, Evelyn concerns a father (Brosnan) who lost custody of his daughter to a Roman Catholic orphanage after his wife deserted the family. With the encouragement of a headstrong barmaid (Marguiles) whose uncle is a lawyer, the father takes his case all the way to Ireland’s Supreme Court in this nostalgically inspiring story of love and justice.
Blood on the Mountain
Since the 1880s, mining interests have dominated West Virginia. With archival stills, vintage footage and contemporary interviews, Blood on the Mountain is a stark documentary on the history of coal in that state. Under the guns of private police, miners once lived in squalid company towns and toiled in shafts permeated with deadly dust. Unions and federal regulations improved conditions, yet the economics of exploitation continue and mine operators continue to escape responsibility for unsafe conditions.