Video clips and history of world cinema: 1888-1897

10 Years 10 Films (10Y10F) is a project to display embedded YouTube selections of early world cinema. This is part one of a series that gives the viewer a quick time-lapse view of how movie technology and style has developed throughout the world – one clip each year – from 1888 through 2017, starting with the foundations to see how filmmakers build or deconstruct them.

World cinema 1888-1897

1888 is a somewhat arbitrary year to begin this series, but it evens out the decades to finish up 130 years later. Since there was no reliable way to project movies until 1896, most of this post is considered “pre-cinema.” 1896 was also the year that movies were shown outside of Europe and the United States, so as more people used the new medium, it developed (no pun intended) more quickly. Perhaps too quickly, as filmmakers didn’t take the time to preserve what they had created; Martin Scorcese’s Film Foundation has estimated that half of all American films made before 1950 and over 90% of films made before 1929 are lost. The ones that remain are a gift that allows us to go back in time. Read more Video clips and history of world cinema: 1888-1897

Top 100 Movies of All Time

My 100 favorite movies – not necessarily ones I would pick as the “best” of all time. This was precipitated by a group vote on the Blu-ray.com Forum. I will underline the titles that make the top 100 on Blu-ray.com when the results are posted in September October.

This list is also available on Letterboxd.

UPDATE OCT. 29: Results are in! I’ve placed a mark, at the end of qualifying entries, with the Blu-ray.com result in superscript.e.g. 50. Four from my list made the top ten, marked in red. 50 runner-up results have also been posted on the forum. The discussion thread was a great online community experience.

(Image courtesy of Esteban2)

  1. Cloud Atlas (2012) – Connects the human experience across the entire globe in six different eras (from 1849 to 2321). The use of yellowface is a problem for some viewers, but otherwise, I consider this to be the Wachowskis’ masterpiece.(122)
  2. Rain Man (1988) – One of those movies I grew up watching repeatedly on VHS. This made autism relatable to the world with Dustin Hoffman in the titular role and Tom Cruise as his brother. This was Hans Zimmer’s first Oscar-nominated score. Directed by Barry Levinson (Good Morning, Vietnam; Sleepers; The Natural).
  3. The Princess Bride (1987) – Written by William Goldman and adapted from his hilarious and bizarre book. Rob Reiner made it even more popular on the big screen. Every element of this film is fantastic – it remains my family’s favorite.100
  4. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – The second film in George Lucas’s epic, this one directed by Irvin Kershner. It’s hard to pick a favorite in the Star Wars saga, but I’ll go with this, the fan favorite. Look for the “Despecialized Edition.”1
  5. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – Stanley Kubrick’s outer space special effects still hold up. Check out the 1996 version of the soundtrack, too, with the proper versions of both Strauss’s (unrelated) Also Sprach Zarathustra and The Blue Danube.12
  6. Rocky IV (1985) – At the top of my guilty pleasure list, this was the most financially successful entry in Sylvester Stallone’s series. Features Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago, the steroid-pumping, undefeated Soviet boxer.
  7. There Will Be Blood (2007) – Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, music by Jonny Greenwood (of Radiohead). Need I say more?17
  8. A Trip to the Moon (1902) – The most well known movie from the innovative French film-maker Georges Méliès. There is no official score for the film, but I recommend the version recorded by Air in the 2011 restored release.
  9. Alien (1979) – Ridley Scott makes consistently top-knotch films, like Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, and Blade Runner to name a few, but none match the frightening saga of Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) vs. the H.R. Giger-designed alien world.5
  10. The Babadook (2014) – All the pieces fit together to make this creepy children’s book character come to life. From Australian first-time director, Jennifer Kent.

Read more Top 100 Movies of All Time

Best Albums of 2014

My third annual list. This is mostly personal preference, but with an ear to recommend both popular and obscure (mostly alt-rock and electronic) albums to other music lovers. On this list, albums get either a 1 (best) or 2 (rest); within those two groups, most have equal ground. This may seem like a boring list with no explanations, but pick one of your favorite genres and zero in on just one album. Let loose and enjoy your SELF!

best-albums-2014 Read more Best Albums of 2014

A few album ratings – Spring 2014

********* 9
The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream (March 2014, neo-psychedelia)

********* 9
Rosanne Cash – The River & the Thread (January 2014, Americana)

********* 9
Nils Frahm – Spaces (November 2013, ambient)

********* 9
Bonobo – LateNightTales (November 2013, electric)

********* 9
Warren Haynes – Live at Bonnaroo [June 15, 2003] (June 2004, acoustic rock)

********* 9
Dada – American Highway Flower (September 1994, alt rock)

******** 8
Tycho – Awake (March 2014, ambient pop)

******** 8
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – The Lion the Beast and the Beat (June 2012, rock)

******** 8
Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté – Ali and Toumani (February 2010, Mande folk/Songhai)

******* 7
Beacon – The Way We Separate (April 2013, indietronica)

******* 7
Katharina Franck – Zeitlupenkino (2002, singer/songwriter)
Read more A few album ratings – Spring 2014