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The Heart Is a Drum Machine

17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

What is music? Today's top artists, actors, and scholars grapple with the question in this cinematic look at a uniquely human obsession. The Heart is a Drum Machine is a new feature documentary film project from the producers of Moog.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jason Schwartzman, Elijah Wood, john frusciante, Juliette Lewis, Wayne Coyne
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Lightyear
  • DVD Release Date: March 9, 2010
  • Run Time: 74 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0031DRVRI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,704 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Heart Is a Drum Machine" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Searching on December 9, 2010
Format: DVD
I wanted to like this documentary, because I am a passionate lover of music, and I appreciate, and feel an automatic kinship with anyone driven to make documentaries about music. But this one really missed the mark, and for me this is noteworthy, because I love music so such a degree, that it rarely takes very much to hold my attention.

The movie opens in a compelling enough manner, with some artistic imagery and an intriguing soundtrack, reminding me of cool science shows from the 70's that I really enjoyed as a kid. The opening scene segues into short 15-45 second clips taken from interviews with various people, musicians and actors mostly, providing commentary on what music 'is' to them. After ten of these interview clips, I found myself thinking "okay, I get it, now when does the documentary really begin". After twenty more of these clips, I was beginning to get impatient ... and after thirty more of them, my wife and I were resigned to staring at the screen blankly. How many different interpretations of 'the meaning of music' can one endure? It turns out, if wishing to get to the end of the DVD, one must endure about 74 minutes worth.

Occasionally peppered between these snippets were slightly longer scenes (maybe 2-5 minutes each) ranging from a very funny comedic analysis of contemporary music, to a woman describing her and Carl Sagan's 1970's mission to hurl a time capsule full of music into space. As interesting as some of these scenes were, it wasn't abundantly apparent how they tied in to the overall theme, which was, I think, that the human heart beat is the fundamental basis for all things musical. Maybe true, maybe not, but as a thesis, I didn't find this idea compelling enough to justify the dedication of an entire documentary.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A. Grainger on April 18, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
To say this is a "documentary" is to use the word very loosely. I expected this film to be about why humans are innately drawn to listening to and creating music. The reality is that it's just 74 minutes of musicians (some good, some extremely poor) rambling on about their vague notions of what music "is". You will learn nothing from watching this, and if I can save you $17 with this one star review then I feel like my job has been done.

However, it is almost worth buying for the 40 minute uncut interview with John Frusciante included as a bonus feature. If you're a fan of John then you will really enjoy that part. It's quite a unique and raw insight into his mind.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KEB on March 19, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I usually love just about any kind of music documentary, but this was nothing but a whole lot of short interviews. There's a couple of short explanations on sound and the human ear and the gold record they sent into space. But other than that it's just a long string of people's opinions on what music is.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ronald A. Sussman on March 9, 2010
Format: DVD
I had the pleasure of working on this film as both the online editor and colorist so I have watched it many times. The film tries to get to the "heart" of what music is and how it affects us on so many levels. While not a fast paced film, it still manages to grab and hold the viewers attention because the subject matter is so intriguing- How does one describe "music"? It brings forth both a visceral and physical response and the many interviewees are funny, thoughtful and insightful. If you are a musician or just love music than give this film a viewing!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Scott Thomas Dozier on May 27, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I got this because I'm a fan of Maynard James Keenan; he doesn't even speak during his interview though. I'm not sure if this was an artistic choose or if he merely charged more to contribute a speaking interview. That aside, his philosophy on what motivates him to create music is very interesting.
Tim and Eric make an appearance and they are, of course, hilarious.
The rest of the movie is filled with various artist who attempt to explain how music makes them feel and why they create it. Some are successful. Others sound as if they were caught off guard; their explanations are littered with words such as "like" and "it"("it" being the unexplainable feeling music provokes in an individual).
There are also some interesting scientific theories: comparisons between music and the human body and how music affects the brain. Most of which I can't remember at the moment because I haven't watched it in over a month.
Overall this movie is less informative than it sets out to be and more of a conformation that you are not the only one who has trouble describing why music makes you feel the way it does.
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By abigail s. on August 12, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
I thought I didn't like this. I thought I hated it actually. Then I remembered the part of me that used to listen to music. I got it on with my favorite artist. My very favorite artist. This group of people are trying to say something that really can't be said. OMG. I love music. It sucks I have to go back to the grind this weekend where music is something other than enjoyable. Anyway, this movie is mostly just short bits of recognizable musicians and music appreciators. There is some interesting stuff, like facts about music, too. It is really pretty good if you try it with an open mind. Or if you hate it and then go back after you listen to your favorite artist whose album was totally collecting dust.
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