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10 Years Blu-ray Review

10 Years (2012) movie poster 10 Years

Theatrical Release: September 14, 2012 / Running Time: 101 Minutes / Rating: PG-13 / Songs List

Writer/Director: Jamie Linden

Cast: Lynn Collins (Anna), Rosario Dawson (Mary), Jenna Dewan-Tatum (Jess), Brian Geraghty (Kevin Garrity), Ari Graynor (Sam), Oscar Isaac (Reeves), Ron Livingston (Paul), Justin Long (Marty Pibb), Anthony Mackie (Andre Lamont), Kate Mara (Elise), Max Minghella (AJ Michalka), Aubrey Plaza (Olivia), Scott Porter (Scott), Chris Pratt (Cully), Channing Tatum (Jake Stafford), Aaron Yoo (Peter Jung), Eiko Nijo (Suki), Kelly Noonan (Julie), Ivan Martin (Bartender Jerry), Michelle Griego (Amber Lynn), Monique Candelaria (Amy Lee), Rebekah Wiggins (Mona), Nick Zano (Nick Vanillo)

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With three varied $100 million-grossing films to his name (The Vow, 21 Jump Street, Magic Mike), Channing Tatum has been the biggest box office draw of 2012, a stark turnaround from his three underwhelming performers last year. Tatum has had a couple of flops this year as well, but they've flown under the public's radar. He was one of many big names supporting Gina Carano in Steven Soderbergh's January spy thriller Haywire.
More recently, Tatum was emphasized in the marketing of 10 Years, an ensemble high school reunion comedy given a narrow September release.

That limited engagement wasn't exactly a vote of no confidence. It's just that after debuting at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival, 10 Years was acquired by Anchor Bay Films, a studio that doesn't do wide releases and has only thrice crossed the $1 million mark. In a maximum of 63 theaters, 10 Years grossed $203,373, the ninth highest total in the studio's six years of theatrical distribution.

Tatum's is one of many familiar faces here, as a number of recognizable and in-demand actors in their early 30s and late 20s assemble. This is a straightforward high school reunion flick, without the outlandish angle usually written into the event. No one is secretly a contract killer or pretending to be the inventor of Post-It notes. Nope, it's simply a group of young adults back in town gathering to reconnect and reflect on shared years. The film takes the one day design put to fine use on the iconic high school tales American Graffiti and Dazed and Confused. Those nostalgic comedies saw their characters coming of age. Here, characters get nostalgic about their coming of age and mindful that it occurred an entire decade ago.

For Jake (Channing Tatum), the 10-year reunion offers a chance for his current girlfriend (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) to meet his high school one. Cully (Chris Pratt) uses the occasion to make amends with those he bulled in high school.

Every character has his or her own story, though inevitably, the ensemble breaks into small groups in the interest of storytelling. Mortgage banker Jake (Tatum) is attending with his girlfriend of 3 years (Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Channing's Step Up co-star and real life wife). Things get slightly awkward for them when Jake's high school sweetheart Mary (Rosario Dawson) surprisingly shows up along with her husband (Ron Livingston).

Successful New York publisher Marty (Justin Long) and AJ (Max Minghella), the married man looking to live vicariously through him, gravitate to Anna (John Carter's Lynn Collins), the life of the party back in high school who seems to still have it. Reeves (Oscar Isaac) gets a little more attention than his classmates, because he has found fame as a musician. His attention is turned to Elise (Kate Mara), the Physics crush who got away.

Cully (Chris Pratt) and his wife Sam (Ari Graynor) are excited to get a night away from their young kids. Cully is a repentant former bully looking to win the forgiveness of those he tormented.

These four main threads are complemented by lighter ones, like Olivia (Aubrey Plaza) discovering that her husband (Brian Geraghty) acted black in high school, where he went by the name "G Money."

Musician Reeves (Isaac Oscar) enjoys a night walk with the physics classmate (Kate Mara) that he's never gotten out of his mind. A.J. (Max Minghella) and Marty (Justin Long) relish an opportunity to get their picture taken with Anna (Lynn Collins).

It's refreshing to find a comedy made for adults that isn't given a hard R rating and obligated to outrage with racy antics. I'm no prude or anything, but 10 Years proves that you can have maturity and realism while staying PG-13. You never get the sense that the film is being held back to earn that rating.
With its occasional profanity, flowing alcohol, and brief drug use, it's no squeaky clean production. It just doesn't get bogged down with the shock factor of crude gags. It's not that the film's target audience is under 17 or that commercial prospects could have been a very high priority at the low budget.

Although 21 Jump Street was diverting and Magic Mike is supposedly a lot better than advertised, you don't expect much from a Channing Tatum movie. For that matter, most of his castmates have made their fair share of stinkers as well. So, 10 Years qualifies as something of a pleasant surprise. Making his directing debut, We Are Marshall and Dear John screenwriter Jamie Linden is thoughtful about the age in question, which is close enough to his own. He knows the right tunes to transport millennial teens to their high school days and the right issues to be on their mind ten years later. What's especially nice is that Linden avoids temptations to be overly clever or trite. He could have easily made Mary's husband a villain and our first impressions suggest that is where he's going. But life isn't that tidy and the single day depicted here avoids familiar, contrived turns wherever possible. There is more to Cully and to Anna than first meets the eye. Their revelations are tasteful and believable.

Reflecting on the human experience with realism isn't something that most commercial comedies do. Perhaps that explains why 10 Years got such a limited release. Though it has plenty of amusing moments, the film does not come from the Hangover, Bridesmaids, and Project X school of comedy. There are no huge laughs or irreverent one-liners to base an oft-aired TV spot around. Obviously, there are comedies beyond hard R-rated types (and I'm not disparaging that class, as Bridesmaids and the first Hangover are fine films), but most of the visible ones are either animated family films or romantic comedies. Movies with a little more real world relevance than those seemingly do not test well. Thus, they go the independent route and though the occasional one (e.g. Juno and Little Miss Sunshine) will break out, most are resigned to relative obscurity.

10 Years isn't good enough to resent its invisibility and get really mad about the system. The movie's a little sloppy and formulaic at times. Still, it is definitely good enough to deserve at least as big an audience as those found by a Step Up sequel or your typical Nicholas Sparks movie. That will not happen, which means word of mouth is needed and that those who discover this movie are more likely to treasure it than if the movie was to find them by traditional advertising.

10 Years Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

1.78:1 Widescreen
Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (English), Dolby 2.0 Mono (Spanish)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Not Subtitled
Release Date: December 18, 2012
Single-sided, single-layered disc (BD-25)
Suggested Retail Price: $29.99
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase
Also available on DVD ($26.98 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

The film's low budget does not show in the Blu-ray's sharp, clean, and entirely satisfactory 1.78:1 transfer. A few scenes are shot on first-person video, but even these keep their shortcomings minor and manufactured. The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack also pleases, with dialogue remaining crisp and songs nicely distributed.

A.J. (Max Minghella) and Marty (Justin Long) head home in this deleted scene set the morning after the reunion. An old photograph contrasts a teenaged Chris Pratt with the huskier one of today on the Blu-ray's menu.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

10 Years is joined by just a single bonus feature. Six deleted scenes run 8 minutes and 54 seconds.
Presented in HD, these cuts are inessential but not bad and show us a little more of what happened the following morning.

The disc opens with surely reciprocated trailers for Fox's 30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Watch, neither of which is accessible from the menu, nor sadly is 10 Years' own trailer (a glaring omission).

The sluggish menu plays clips and displays old photos of the cast amidst spotlights and listings. The disc supports bookmarks, but unfortunately does not manage to resume playback.

The eco-friendly keepcase is joined by no insert or slipcover.

Walls of old photographs jog the memories of high school sweethearts Mary (Rosario Dawson) and Jake (Channing Tatum) in "10 Years."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

10 Years is quite a bit better than its cast and minimal theatrical release would lead you to believe. While it will not mean as much to its generation as The Big Chill meant to Baby Boomers thirty years ago, Jamie Linden's film is thoughtful and consistently entertaining. The Blu-ray's good presentation and light accompaniment are ordinary, but the movie warrants more of a look than the typical film.

Buy 10 Years from Amazon.com: Blu-ray / DVD / Instant Video

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10 Years Songs List: Oscar Isaac, Kate Mara, Chad Fischer - "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere", The Felice Brothers - "Radio Song", Barry Louis Polisar - "You Can't Say Psbpsbpsb on the Radio", The Pharcyde - "Oh Sh*t", Fatboy Slim - "Praise You", Haji Springer - "Stay Fly", Bibio - "Lovers' Carvings", Ian Britt - "Dedicate", Bushwalla - "Mayhem is Beautiful", King Juju - "Be Yo Daddy", Jamiroquai - "Virtual Insanity", Jon Allen - "New Years Eve", ApSci - "Crazy Crazy Insane", Alexander - "Bad Bad Love", The Avett Brothers - "Love Was a Stranger", Findlay Brown - "I Still Want You", Willie Wright - "It's Only Life, That's All", Joe Purdy - "Goldfish", Scott Porter, Frantz Durand, Eiko Nijo - "Same Song", Kidz in the Hall - "Jukebox", Suuns - "PVC", Ol' Dirty Bastard featuring Kelis - "Got Your Money", Human Highway - "The Sound", Chris Pratt - "The Lady in Red", Oscar Isaac - "Never Had", Rogue Wave - "Slow Down Kid", Passion Pit - "Tonight, Tonight"

Buy 10 Years: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Amazon MP3

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Reviewed December 8, 2012.



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