Blu-ray Review “Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man”

Actors: Leonard Cohen, Martha Wainwright, Teddy Thompson, Nick Cave, Kate McGarrigle
Directors: Lian Lunson
Rated: PG-13
Studio: Lionsgate
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Run Time: 103 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man” is a film that is over 10 years old but this is the first time that the documentary focusing on the legendary singer-songwriter, Leonard Cohen, and features performances of his songs by those musicians he has influenced is being released on Blu-ray. If you are a Leonard Cohen fan, I mean who isn’t, and have never owned this film, this is a good time to honor this very talent individual and his music. Crazy to thing that he is gone from us but at least we have films like this celebrating him.

Narrated by Cohen himself, the film features performances by artists like U2, Rufus Wainwright, Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker, Antony, Martha Wainwright and Beth Orton and others singing Cohen’s songs. Here is the official premise: Sure to please both die-hard Cohen fans and the newly initiated, this film is full of captivating music and offers an intimate portrait of a truly singular artist — poet, songwriter, cultural icon.

Lionsgate is releasing this film as a combo pack with a Blu-ray and Digital HD copy included. There are some solid bonus features included on this Blu-ray. There are exclusive performances not seen in the movie by Martha Wainwright, Perla Batalla, The Handsome Family, and Teddy Thompson that are worth checking out for sure. There is also “A Conversation with Leonard Cohen” and an audio commentary with the director, Lian Lunson, included. Worth checking out if you are a hardcore fan.

Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek’s Iconic Mr. Spock, Dead at Age 83

For three television seasons, animated and guest appearances and in many feature films, actor Leonard Nimoy would often address others with the phrase “Live long and prosper.” It was a philosophy Mr. Nimoy himself followed until he passed away today at the age of 83.

Best known for his portrayal of the emotionless Vulcan, Mr. Spock, on “Star Trek,” Nimoy would eventually escape that persona (he famously wrote his autobiography, entitled “I Am Not Spock”) to become not only a versatile actor but an accomplished photographer and film director.

Born in Boston on March 26, 1931, Nimoy began his acting career as a young boy, performing in local productions. He headed west after high school and, after serving in the United States Army, began appearing in popular television shows of the era, among them “Luke and the Tenderfoot,” “Broken Arrow” and “Mackenzies Raiders.” His unusual features often found him cast as a Native American. He worked steadily through the early 1960s and then, in 1966, he took the role that he would forever be identified with. Described by creator Gene Roddenberry, “Star Trek” was supposed to be like “Wagon Train” to the stars. Nimoy was cast as First Officer Spock, a member of the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Nimoy was one of the few actors who remained with the show from the pilot until the final episode. Spock struck a nerve with the counter-culture of the times and quickly became the series’ most popular character. He was nominated for an Emmy as Outstanding Supporting Actor all three seasons “Star Trek” ran, losing to Eli Wallach, Milburn Stone (Doc on “Gunsmoke”) and Werner Klemperer (Colonel Klink on “Hogan’s Heroes”). HE LOST TO COLONEL KLINK??? Back then, the Emmy’s didn’t divide the supporting categories into drama and comedy. They also only had three nominees in that category, not the customary five. Wow. COLONEL FRICKING KLINK!

When the series ended Nimoy headed to another long running show, playing disguise and magic master Paris in “Mission: Impossible.” He also reprised the role of Spock on the Saturday morning “Star Trek – the Animated Series.” He continued acting through the 70s, appearing in the popular remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and also began working behind the camera, helming an episode of Rod Serling’s “Night Gallery.” In 1979 he once again returned to Spock in “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” In 1981 he adapted and directed the television version of his one man play, “Vincent,” based on the life of Theo Van Gogh, brother of the famed artist, Vincent. The next year he returned in “Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan,” coming back only after being assured that the character of Spock would be killed off. the success of the film, both commercially and critically, brought the offer to return. Nimoy agreed to come back if he could direct the feature film. In 1984, “Star Trek III – The Search for Spock” was released. The film featured the crew of the Enterprise trying to recover the body of Spock. Nimoy appears at the end of the film. He again directed “Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home,” probably the most fun of the “Original Series” films, which came out in 1986. The next year he went behind the camera for the very popular comedy “Three Men and a Baby.”

Nimoy also pursued a career in photography, with many of his photos being exhibited in museums across the country. In 1996 he published his 2nd Autobiography, “I AM SPOCK,” finally coming to terms with the character that had made him famous. He leaves behind his 2nd wife, Susan, and his children, Adam and Julie.

Interview with Leonard Stone (1923-2011)

Leonard Stone is known best for his role as Sam Beaurgarde in 1971’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. Leonard has worked on over 100 TV shows. Movie Mikes had a chance to travel back to the 70’s with Leonard to discuss his role in “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory”.

Click here to purchase “Willy Wonka” merchandise
Click here to view our “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory” Interview Series

Mike Gencarelli: How did you originally get the role of Mr. Sam Beaurgarde in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”?
Leonard Stone: Mel Stuart (the film’s director) called me in because I had worked with him before on another picture (1970s “I Love My Wife”) He knew me…knew my work and he said “if you want to do it we can do it.” It was that quick. I didn’t have to keep coming back. I did ask if I could bring my wife along (to Germany for the shoot) and he said “yes.” When we got there my wife found out there was a small part in the film for a woman to play my on-screen wife. Just one quick scene at the auto lot. She asked Mel if she could play it and he told her “No. You’re not right for the part!” (laughs) It’s now years later and Mel’s divorced and she and I have been together for over forty years.

Mike Gencarelli: What was your fondest memory working on “Willy Wonka” Most of the other cast members we’ve interviewed point to the unveiling of the main chocolate room.
Leonard Stone: Oh yes. It was very exciting. They didn’t allow us to see it until it was time to shoot it. So when we walk through the door and see the room for the first time, we really are seeing the room for the first time. The reactions they got on film were real….we were stunned it was so beautiful. Plus a lot of the things we did off set. We would go bowling on our off days. And the studio got us a tent at the Octoberfest which was a great time. And Gene (Wilder) my wife and I would often go out to dinner together. Gene was just getting into wines and he would “discover” one that he would loved and that is what we would have for dinner. Another thing that amused me so much was that Roald Dahl (author of the book the film is based on) didn’t like some of the things Mel was doing with the film. They were always butting heads. Now Dahl was nice and tall…very thin…he stands like the letter “S”. He’s got great British bone structure…a very handsome man, speaks with an impeccable English accent. And he would swear at Mel in that accent and it would break me up because it sounded so funny coming out of his mouth.

Mike Gencarelli: Do you still keep in touch with any of the cast or crew from the film?
Leonard Stone: No, not really. I know that Mike Teevee (Paris Themmen) left acting and became a cameraman. And I just saw Denise Nickerson at a photo signing in New Jersey. But I’m here in San Diego so if they want to they can find me. (laughs)

MG: How do you feel about the 2005 remake with Johnny Depp?
LS: I liked some of the film. And I think Johnny Depp is a wonderful actor. But I didn’t like some of his choices as Wonka. I personally think he gave a lot of the story away from the get go by the way he played it. I didn’t understand some of the changes. Like why Violet had a mother and not a father. Mike Teevee had a father and not a mother. I know Roald Dahl jumped on Mel a lot because he wanted the movie to be darker. I’m sure he would have liked the new one because it’s much darker than ours. When I heard about the new version I thought it would be great to have a walk on in it, just for the hell of it. So I contacted them. I even called the over in London and said I’d be happy to do it but they said they weren’t using anybody from the other one.

MG: Besides “Wonka”, you have worked in over 100 TV shows, any favorites?
LS: One of my favorite television roles was on “Lost in Space.” I played a con man in outer space by the name of Farnum. It’s one of my favorites because the director let me create the performance. One of the associate producers didn’t like it but the director, who I’d worked with many times before, knew it was the right way to go. And that episode is one of the highest rated shows in the series. It was so popular that the network told the producers to “write another show for this guy!” I’m just an old fashioned character actor. A lot of people don’t even know my name but they know my work.

MG: Are you working on anything now?
LS: I’m hoping to have a children’s book out soon. The publishers think it will be out by the end of the year. They’re aiming for that. I’ve got a great illustrator. Joe Sable is his name. He’s worked for Disney…Hanna-Barbara…a bunch of places. We got together and he loved my story. He says he’s having so much fun doing the illustrations. It’s called “Keepy: The Kangaroo That Never Grew” He’s a kangaroo that never grew who was raised by a mouse family and thinks he’s a mouse. It has a moral in it, as will any of the follow up stories. I’ve already written a couple of them. I wrote it because I’m tired of all of the violence that kids see. The young kids see so darn much of it. Everything has to be sharp and bloody and shoot-em-up. In fact, a few of the publishers I showed it to said it was “too soft” or “too old fashioned.” And I told them I intended it to be.

Click here to purchase “Willy Wonka” merchandise
Click here to view our “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory” Interview Series

Interview with Joshua Leonard

Joshua Leonard is known best for his role in “The Blair Witch Project” and his recent breakout role in “Humpday”. Joshua also spends his time writing and directing. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Joshua about his work on “Shark Night 3D” and also his upcoming projects.

Mike Gencarelli: Can you give us some background on your role in “Shark Night 3D”?
Joshua Leonard: I play Red, who is a bad guy. I have some top secret shark like teeth that I fashioned for the role and he is just a backwoods redneck. Its type casting. (Laughs) I also have this cool neck tattoo that reads “Trust no Bitch”.

MG: How long did the process of shooting take?
JL: I was in Shreveport for about a month working off and on. Luckily for me I’m a bit of a poker player and we were close to some casinos.

MG: How do you feel this film compares to other recent 3D films?
JL: I haven’t seen any of the recent 3D stuff. I’m sure I will end up seeing this one at some point and evidently the sharks in this film are killer!

MG: How was it working with Vera Farminga in “Higher Ground”?
JL:  It was one of the better filming experiences of my life. Vera is someone who I esteem highly as an actor long before we made the movie together. I was very lucky that she had seen something I had worked on and liked it. We met one day in Los Angeles and I think it was the first time I had ever been hired in the room. It was the easiest meeting of all time. She and her husband are really salt of the earth people. I feel people do press and always say how people are nice and great to work with because that’s what we are obliged to do. You never really know when some is not the greatest. Vera is one of the most genuine people I have ever met in my life. It’s very rare that you find someone that is both talented and genuine. I think normally a person has one or the other but very rarely do they have both. Vera really took to directing like a fish in water. She knew what she wanted and the story was not only something she had been working on for quite some time but it was very near to her heart. I think every note she gave any of us as actors was about finding more humanity and depth in the characters that we were playing. It was like summer camp as an actor.

MG: Can you tell us about your other film “The Lie” which you star in as well as co-wrote and directed?
JL: Unfortunately for audiences this film is the Josh Leonard show. (Laughs) It’s a passion project of mine based on a TC Boyle story that I fell in love with that I read in the New Yorker and ended up optioning it for a film. It was something that was coming right on the heels of the film “Humpday” that I did. I was looking for something of mine own that I could invest myself in and I found this one.  I sent the story to my producing partner who really dug it. From there we went about assembling what I think is the best crew and the greatest most talented cast. A lot of them are friends and/or people I have worked with before so it was very much the antidote to something we do quite a bit and that is waiting around to make a movie. This wasn’t a big movie but it was something we knew we could pull together quickly as we had a lot of the resources and the talent at our finger tips. Shooting took about three and a half months. The film is a dark comedy that we put a lot of heart into. The premise may be somewhat off putting to some as it’s about a guy who is experiencing a premature mid-life crisis. One day in an effort to get out of work the main character creates a horrible lie which becomes the catalyst for all the other events which happen throughout the films progression. Co-starring with me is Jess Weixler and Mark Webber along with Jane Adams and Garry Bednob. The cast is really cool and very indie. The film should be out late October or early November.

MG: You also have another film titled “A Spectacular Regret”; can you tell us about that?
JL: That’s one of those films that I kind of mentioned earlier as we have been sort of waiting around for a long time to make it. The film has come together so many times and then fallen apart that I have no clue when that thing is going to get made. We just kind of stopped talking about it.

MG: You have been both in front of the camera and behind. Which do you prefer more?
JL: It all depends on the project. The great thing about being an actor is that no matter how much of your heart you put into the thing you are still just punching the clock. Sometimes that’s exactly what you want but also when you have a story you want to tell and you know no one else is going to do that it’s very exciting to be able to do that. I absolutely love directing and I am excited to do it again. That said it’s also great to go and do a gig like “Shark Night” doing a character role that I can have some fun with and then go play some poker when it’s all done. I feel really lucky that I am getting to walk in both worlds.

Interview with Leonard Stone

Leonard Stone is known best for his role as Sam Beaurgarde in 1971’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. Leonard has worked on over 100 TV shows. Movie Mikes had a chance to travel back to the 70’s with Leonard to discuss his role in “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory”.

Click here to purchase “Willy Wonka” merchandise
Click here to view our “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory” Interview Series

Mike Gencarelli: How did you originally get the role of Mr. Sam Beaurgarde in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”?
Leonard Stone: Mel Stuart (the film’s director) called me in because I had worked with him before on another picture (1970s “I Love My Wife”)  He knew me…knew my work and he said “if you want to do it we can do it.”  It was that quick.  I didn’t have to keep coming back.  I did ask if I could bring my wife along (to Germany for the shoot) and he said “yes.”  When we got there my wife found out there was a small part in the film for a woman to play my on-screen wife.  Just one quick scene at the auto lot.  She asked Mel if she could play it and he told her “No.  You’re not right for the part!”  (laughs)  It’s now years later and Mel’s divorced and she and I have been together for over forty years.

Mike Gencarelli: What was your fondest memory working on “Willy Wonka”  Most of the other cast members we’ve interviewed point to the unveiling of the main chocolate room.
Leonard Stone: Oh yes.  It was very exciting.  They didn’t allow us to see it until it was time to shoot it.  So when we walk through the door and see the room for the first time, we really are seeing the room for the first time.  The reactions they got on film were real….we were stunned it was so beautiful.  Plus a lot of the things we did off set.  We would go bowling on our off days.  And the studio got us a tent at the Octoberfest which was a great time.  And Gene (Wilder) my wife and I would often go out to dinner together.  Gene was just getting into wines and he would “discover” one that he would loved and that is what we would have for dinner.  Another thing that amused me so much was that Roald Dahl (author of the book the film is based on) didn’t like some of the things Mel was doing with the film.  They were always butting heads.  Now Dahl was nice and tall…very thin…he stands like the letter “S”.  He’s got great British bone structure…a very handsome man, speaks with an impeccable English accent.  And he would swear at Mel in that accent and it would break me up because it sounded so funny coming out of his mouth.

Mike Gencarelli: Do you still keep in touch with any of the cast or crew from the film?
Leonard Stone: No, not really.  I know that Mike Teevee (Paris Themmen) left acting and became a cameraman.  And I just saw Denise Nickerson at a photo signing in New Jersey.  But I’m here in San Diego so if they want to they can find me. (laughs)

MG: How do you feel about the 2005 remake with Johnny Depp?
LS: I liked some of the film.  And I think Johnny Depp is a wonderful actor.  But I didn’t like some of his choices as Wonka.  I personally think he gave a lot of the story away from the get go by the way he played it.  I didn’t understand some of the changes.  Like why Violet had a mother and not a father.  Mike Teevee had a father and not a mother.  I know Roald Dahl jumped on Mel a lot because he wanted the movie to be darker.  I’m sure he would have liked the new one because it’s much darker than ours.  When I heard about the new version I thought it would be great to have a walk on in it, just for the hell of it.  So I contacted them. I even called the over in London and said I’d be happy to do it but they said they weren’t using anybody from the other one.

MG: Besides “Wonka”, you have worked in over 100 TV shows, any favorites?
LS: One of my favorite television roles was on “Lost in Space.”  I played a con man in outer space by the name of Farnum.  It’s one of my favorites because the director let me create the performance.  One of the associate producers didn’t like it but the director, who I’d worked with many times before, knew it was the right way to go.  And that episode is one of the highest rated shows in the series.  It was so popular that the network told the producers to “write another show for this guy!”  I’m just an old fashioned character actor.  A lot of people don’t even know my name but they know my work.

MG: Are you working on anything now?
LS: I’m hoping to have a children’s book out soon.  The publishers think it will be out by the end of the year.  They’re aiming for that.  I’ve got a great illustrator.  Joe Sable is his name.  He’s worked for Disney…Hanna-Barbara…a bunch of places.  We got together and he loved my story.  He says he’s having so much fun doing the illustrations.  It’s called “Keepy: The Kangaroo That Never Grew”  He’s a kangaroo that never grew who was raised by a mouse family and thinks he’s a mouse.  It has a moral in it, as will any of the follow up stories.  I’ve already written a couple of them.  I wrote it because I’m tired of all of the violence that kids see.  The young kids see so darn much of it.  Everything has to be sharp and bloody and shoot-em-up.  In fact, a few of the publishers I showed it to said it was “too soft” or “too old fashioned.”  And I told them I intended it to be.

Click here to purchase “Willy Wonka” merchandise
Click here to view our “Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory” Interview Series