Saturday, February 04, 2012
BLOG FEATURE REVIEW
Director Quentin Tarantino brings his edgy, pulse-pounding style of filmmaking to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in this gripping, feature-length offering from the acclaimed, top-rated crime-drama series. A reunited CSI team must race desperately against the clock when one of their own is abducted and subsequently buried alive - a diabolical plot that grows more intense and claustrophobic with each new shocking twist and heart-stopping turn. Guest stars John Saxon, Andrew Prine and Lois Chiles and cameo appearances by Tony Curtis and Frank Gorshin add to the suspense and excitement of this unforgettable CSI thriller.
"Grave Danger" is the two-hour fifth season finale that aired on CBS on May 19, 2005. The thrilling story begins when CSI team member Nick Stokes is suddenly abducted and buried alive. As his team receives random demands, they are directed to a website where they are forced to helplessly watch as Stokes desperately struggles to free himself from his underground coffin. The CSI team reunites with a single mission in mind: to save one of its own. The episode has a teleplay by Naren Shankar, Anthony E. Zuiker and Carol Mendelsohn and a story by Quentin Tarantino. All of the main cast members of the fifth season are featured in the episode: William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Gary Dourdan, George Eads, Jorja Fox, Eric Szmanda and Robert David Hall. Guest stars include John Saxon as Walter Gordon, Andrew Prine as Judge Bill "Cisco" Stokes (Nick's father), Lois Chiles as Jillian Stokes (Nick's mother), and Tony Curtis and Frank Gorshin as themselves in cameo appearances. This was Frank Gorshin's final television appearance. He died two days before this episode aired.
The standalone Blu-ray/DVD combo release comes in a standard Blu-ray case. It features a shot of George Eads in the underground coffin on the cover. William Petersen is featured on the back of the case. A short synopsis of the release and a listing of the Blu-ray/DVD specs are provided. Inside the case, Anthony Zuiker, creator of CSI provides a few words on the episode and Quentin Tarantino. The DVD has the CSI logo and a light gray background. The Blu-ray release features the CSI logo and a light blue background.
The menus are similar to what you see on the full season releases. They open with a montage of video clips of from the episode. The show's theme song, Who Are You by The Who, is played in the background. It loops after about 35 seconds. There are options to play the episode, set up and the special feature on both discs. The DVD has the options on the right side of the screen, while they are on the left on the Blu-ray. When you select Set Up or Special Feature on the DVD, it takes you to a sub-menu. There are on-screen menus for Set Up and Special Feature on the Blu-ray. You can choose English 5.1 Surround or Español from the Audio Options. English for the deaf and hard of hearing and Español subtitles are available.
Moving on to the video and audio, the episode looks and sounds outstanding. This is my first time seeing a CSI episode on Blu-ray. I'm very impressed with the quality. It's just a visually stunning episode with the way it was filmed. The Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition. The DVD is in its original widescreen 16:9 format. The episode appears to be unedited, with a running time of 1:25:14. Both the Blu-ray and DVD feature English 5.1 or Spanish Stereo tracks. This episode used quite a few songs. All of them appear to be here. There are some memorable ones like Bob Neuwirth's Lucky Too and Outside Chance by The Turtles. Chapters are placed at the appropriate places.
Unfortunately, there is only a single special feature found on both the Blu-ray and DVD discs. CSI: Tarantino Style is the same 17-minute featurette that was previously included on the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The Complete Fifth Season DVD release. It's presented in full frame video and features lots of on-set footage. Interviews include Carol Mendelsohn, William Petersen, Quentin Tarantino, Anthony E. Zuiker, George Eads, Richard Berg, Marg Helgenberger, Robert David Hall, Gary Dourdan, John Saxon and Mark Byers. They talk about how they got Quentin Tarantino involved with the episode and how it was to shoot it. The cast shares their experiences working with him. This is a decent featurette, but it easily could have been more detailed and twice as long.
Grave Danger is one of my favorite episodes of the CSI series. I only saw it once before on the night it originally aired, but it remains just as thrilling and gripping watching it now. It's just an outstanding and well crafted episode that plays like a movie. It features excellent directing, writing, acting, music and production values. Quentin Taranino received an Emmy nomination for his work on the episode. It was one of the highest rated episodes of the series with over 30 million viewers.
This is a pretty lackluster release for such an entertaining episode. It was previously released as a standalone DVD and on The Complete Fifth Season. We get the same special feature on the new Blu-ray/DVD combo that was on the other set. More special features like audio commentaries or deleted scenes would have been welcome and added value to this release. I'm surprised that they didn't include a commentary on the original fifth season release, but I think it would have been easy to record one now. This set just seems overpriced for what you are getting on it. You can buy the complete fifth season on DVD for only a few dollars more. A "best of" Blu-ray release of 8-10 episodes would be much more popular and have better value. Only the first and ninth seasons have been released on Blu-ray in the U.S., so it would be great to see more seasons released in the future, especially the early years when the show was at its best.
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New on DVD/Blu-ray (February)
02/03 - The Bob Newhart Show - Season Five
02/03 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Final (Sixth) Season
02/03 - Maude - The Complete First Season (Mill Creek) / The Complete Series Available 3/17 (Shout! Factory)
02/03 - The Wonder Years - Season Two
02/10 - Mama's Family - The Complete Sixth Season
02/10 - Nurse Jackie - Season Six (Blu-ray)
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Saturday, February 28
Henry Danger - "Caved In" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Henry, Charlotte, and Ray's plans for a day of fun are derailed when Jasper accidentally triggers the emergency lockdown mode for Junk-N-Stuff and the Man Cave, trapping everyone inside.
Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn - "Piggy, Piggy, Piggy & Dawn" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Dawn wants to change up the Quads' puppet routine for the talent show and finally win first place, but gets frustrated after always being outvoted by her brothers.
Bella and the Bulldogs - "That's My Tri-Five!" (Nickelodeon, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bella encourages Sophie and Pepper to recruit a new girl to fill the void she left behind on the cheerleading squad. Bella begins to question her friendship with the girls when the girls succeed in replacing her all too well.
Saturday, February 28
- John Travolta (Welcome Back, Kotter) - Watch John on a primetime encore of the Jimmy Kimmel Live: After the Oscars special on ABC at 8pm. Special appearances include Neil Patrick Harris, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Aniston, John Krasinski, J.K. Simmons and Kevin Hart.
- Steve Carell (The Office) - Watch Steve on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation) - Aziz drops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Drew Carey (The Drew Carey Show/The Good Life) - Drew guest co-hosts The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
- Joshua Molina (Sports Night) - Joshua appears on The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
- Cathy Ladman (Caroline in the City) - Cathy visits The Late Late Show at 12:37am on CBS.
- Kelly Ripa (Hope & Faith) - Kelly stops by Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- Cristela Alonzo (Cristela) - Cristela is a guest on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Juliette Lewis (I Married Dora) - Juliette talks about ABC's Secrets & Lies on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
- Jamie Foxx (The Jamie Foxx Show) - Jamie appears on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 3am on BET.
- Lisa Kudrow (The Comeback/Friends) - Lisa chats on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
- Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry is a guest on The Better Show, so check your local listings.
- Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm) - Larry talks about Fish in the Dark on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.
- Alan Alda (M*A*S*H) - Alan appears on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 10am hour.
- Sean Giambrone (The Goldbergs) - Sean talks about his hit comedy series on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- Mo'Nique (The Parkers) - Mo'Nique will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.