Barbara R. from DAVIS, CA Reviewed on 3/26/2010...
This is definitely for hardcore Cohen fans. Some of the musical numbers done by others are a bit iffy, but the interviews with Leonard are awesome. If you are a fan, do order this one.
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Amazing Tribute to a Living Legend
infinite beauty | California | 06/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Saw this film at the Los Angeles premiere end of June 2006 - the film is full of love for the creative talent of an extraordinary wordsmith whose music mystically takes his words to an even higher vibration.
the film is so real the audience gave standing ovations for performances in the film!!!
And Leonard himself came out to thank the audience, saying he was retiring to the green room to fortify himself with a drink to deal with "the moral pneumonia that comes after the blizzard of praise."
OBTW - he did say he was thinking of going on tour again - at 71 - imagine!"
A life well-spent
kaioatey | Awatovi, AZ | 09/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Leonard Cohen's music brings together poetry, melody, sensuality and spirit in a way that hasn't been matched by any other performer i know. This movie alludes to the magic of Cohen's work but cannot fully capture it as it focuses most of its time on performers who, while trying hard, fall short of what was asked of them.
As a previous reviewer quipped, I'd much prefer to see more of the man and less of the fans. I found myself fidgeting whenever the camera focused on others. Especially the Wainwrights seemed to be all over the place, undeservedly so, IMHO; and Nick Cave was vaguely dissapointing with his Sinatra mannerisms. I liked the piece by Anthony (who I haven't heard of before) and especially the closing performance by Bono and his buddies together with Cohen; it was touching to see the respect these guys have for the old aristocrat.
I have a lot of affection for Cohen and was sincerely touched by this movie. The humility, the nobility of character and mind and the sheer power of presence that emanate from Leonard show how a well-spent life looks like."
Less filmmaker and more substance next time please...
Laurie Eckhout | Juneau, AK USA | 11/23/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Hagiography is a perfect fit for what it seems was attempted with this movie. And Leonard deserves just that, but done well. What is up with that strange noise the director hits us over the head with implying Leonard's 'mystic' status? Is it wind? Music? Definately annoying and totally uncalled for. When Leonard speaks let the audience determine if what he is saying is profound/esoteric, etc without the parlor tricks. Geez. It made what was happening so amateurish (that 'noise') and cheapened the reality of what was being heard and seen.
The reverence by the performers was well represented. I didn't much care for the cd that was born of this dvd. Many of the performances seemed too campy, as if they were competing for the best off-kilter interpretation of what are Leonard classics. It was infinately better to watch and listen as opposed to just listening to the cd. Antony is the best exception to the 'interpretive wars' (see my cd review for details). He out shines all with "If It Be Your Will" honoring its original ambiance with his voice that just makes you want to cry and you don't know why.
I know Leonard embraced Lian's making of this piece and I can tell she is truly enamoured of him and his talents, but the story is badly presented. The weird noises, the strange use of visuals and the camera actions make you think more about the 'film' being made instead of the content, like an annoying fingerprint showing up on each frame of the screen. She should have remained invisible and let the story speak for itself.
I hope someone puts together a 'hagiography' of Leonard that does let him show up without all the nonsense.
That said, buy it! Leonard is in it. I will, despite all watch it again.
Regards, Laurie "
In Awe Of The Master
P.F. Kozak | 07/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Leonard Cohen is a master and this documentary is a fitting tribute to a legend. The audience at the Film Forum in New York sat in awed silence while the music washed though us and the lyrics cleansed our souls. Sometimes, the words cut painfully close to the bone, reminding us of our shared experience of being human.
Leonard Cohen goes to places most of us are unwilling to look at and brings back truth that no one can deny. Bono accurately describes it as going into the abyss and laughing at it. The artists performing his songs follow him there and brilliantly express the depth of his poetry set to music.
This is an outstanding film, documenting the poetic voice of our generation, and surely of many generations to come.
James Carragher | New York | 08/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Full disclosure: it's mighty hard to get me to think anything bad about LC, let alone say it, so I'm hardly a neutral observer when it comes to this documentary. Still, if you have any interest in Cohen and his music, this is unquestionably a must see. The commentary by Bono, Rufus Wainwright and others gets a little too reverential at times for my taste. Leonard is no saint (if for no other reason than Chelsea Hotel #2, his kiss -- and more -- and tell tale about an interlude with Janis Joplin) and his sly humor as he talks about his life peeks through again and again, leavening the endless accolades from his admirers. There are many wonderful pictures of Cohen as a child and the film ends by repeating one of him on a tricycle. My favorite though, and one that I think ties together all the contradictions in his life and work, is one of a ten or twelve year old Leonard neatly dressed and combed but for an unmanageable cowlick, and standing with a bouquet of flowers in front of a statue of Mary.
The singers do great justice to Leonard's work, including Rufus Wainwright in Hallelujuah and the aforementioned Chelsea Hotel (a somewhat different tune from Rufus's point of view). But best of all for me were his sister Martha and her version of The Traitor and backup singers Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen stepping up with a glorious Anthem. Only Nick Cave and, sadly, Anna and Kate McGarrigle are weak in the parade of spectacular voices singing spectacular songs.
Toward the end of the film, Leonard muses about touring again, a prospect that, he says on camera, gets better the more he and others in the scene drink. And then he whets our appetite for such a probably-not-to-happen tour by performing Tower of Song, dressed impeccably as his haberdasher father would have liked, and backed by U2. How much would the tickets for Leonard touring with U2 as a backing band scalp for? Let the bidding start at a thousand or so."