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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Friday, August 22
Last Man Standing - "Hard-ass Teacher" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Eve has decided she wants to go to college at West Point. In order to do so she needs to get straight A’s, which might be a problem considering her geometry teacher, Mr. Hardin, is called “Hard-ass” Hardin for a reason. In turn, Eve asks Mike and Vanessa for their approval to switch teachers to an easier class -- a move Vanessa approves of but one that Mike sees as just the easy way out.
Last Man Standing - "April, Come She Will" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Vanessa’s mooching sister April comes to visit, Mike suspects it’s because she needs money. Sure enough, April explains that she’s decided to have a baby but doesn’t have the funds for a donor egg. While Vanessa and Mike aren’t on board, Mandy comes up with a solution. Meanwhile at Outdoor Man, Mike tries pulling a prank on Chuck Larabee that gives him some new perspective.
Jessie - "Coffee Talk" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Jessie scores two VIP wristbands to Emma and Zuri's dream concert and the girls compete for the extra spot; Bertram is obsessed with his new talking coffee maker.
Dog with a Blog - "Karl Finds Out Stan's Secret" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Stan's secret talent is revealed to the family's neighbor, Karl; he doesn't find out about the blog, the moon walking or the driving, though.
Friday, August 22
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep/The New Adventures of Old Christine/Seinfeld) - Catch Julia on a repeat of The Late Show with David Letterman at 11:35pm on CBS.
- Damon Wayans, Jr. (New Girl/Happy Endings) and Jake Johnson (New Girl) - Watch the stars of Let's Be Cops on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- Max Greenfield (New Girl/Modern Men) - Max appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at 12:37am on CBS.
- Hank Azaria (The Simpsons/Free Agents) - Hank is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- Mary Lynn Rajskub (How to Be a Gentleman) - Tune in to see Mary on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- Allison Janney (Mom/Mr. Sunshine) - Allison is a guest on a repeat of Tavis Smiley on PBS, so check your local listings.
- Whitney Cummings (Whitney) - Whitney is part of the guest panel on a repeat of Chelsea Lately on E! at 11pm.
- Brandy (The Game/Moesha) - Brandy appears on a repeat of The Arsenio Hall Show, so check your local listings.
- Mayim Bialik (The Big Bang Theory/Blossom) - Tune in to see Mayim on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show at 12am on BET or on your local stations.
- Jason Biggs (Mad Love/Drexell's Class) - Jason is a guest on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
- Cedric the Entertainer (The Soul Man/The Steve Harvey Show) - Learn how Cedric is killing his cholesterol on a repeat of The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
- Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/One Day at a Time) - Valerie joins the Chew Crew on a repeat of ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.