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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Sitcoms Airing Tonight
Wednesday, May 27
Modern Family - "The Day We Almost Died" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
While driving out to get breakfast, the Dunphys including Manny have a near death experience causing everyone to reevaluate their lives. Claire resolves to be more fun and less uptight, Haley and Alex agree not to fight anymore, Manny refuses to ever ride in a car again, Luke wants to check off his bucket list, Phil decides to be a take action type of guy and the rest of the family has to bear the brunt of all the new attitudes.
black-ish - "Pilot" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Dre, an advertising exec, is happily anticipating a promotion at work, which would make him the firm’s first African American senior vice president. Rainbow, an anesthesiologist, is looking forward to Dre’s raise. Meanwhile, Andre Jr. makes an announcement — he’s converting to Judaism so he can have a Bar Mitzvah, like all his friends.
Young & Hungry - "Young & Part Two" (ABC Family, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Gabi is bewildered when long-held secrets are revealed; a big opportunity lands in Gabi's lap.
Hot in Cleveland - "Hot in Cleveland: Hot Damn!" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
The cast and crew talk about their favorite episodes, bloopers and behind the scenes moments after six seasons of Hot in Cleveland.
The Soul Man - "Roar!" (TV Land, 10:30PM ET/PT)
When Stamps gets sucked into a self-help philosophy called The Roar, Boyce crashes a seminar to see if it’s legit. Lolli tries to get her salon on St. Louis Weekly’s hot list, and Barton refuses to go to the dentist.
Wednesday, May 27
- Jason Alexander (Seinfeld/Listen Up!/Bob Patterson) - Watch Jason on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
- Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs (2 Broke Girls) - Kat and Beth are guests on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. Beth will also be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
- Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) - Edie is a guest on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
- Natasha Leggero (Free Agents) - Natasha appears on a repeat of @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Tom Lennon (The Odd Couple/Sean Saves the World/Reno 911!) - Tom is a guest on a repeat of @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men/The Famous Teddy Z) and Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men/That '70s Show) - Jon and Ashton are guests on a repeat of Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Jerry Ferrara (Entourage) - Jerry visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
- Kevin Connolly (Entourage/Unhappily Ever After) - Kevin talks about his new film Entourage on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and on LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, so check your listings.
- Wendie Malick (Hot in Cleveland/Just Shoot Me! and Jane Leeves (Hot in Cleveland/Frasier/Throb) - Wendie and Jane are guests on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 1am on BET.
- Sherri Shepherd (Less Than Perfect/Sherri) - Sherri appears on a repeat of The Queen Latifah Show on your local station or at 1am on BET.
- Margaret Cho (All-American Girl) - Margaret discusses her new tour on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
- Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) - Cobie talks about Results on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
- Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation/The Office) - Rashida talks about Hot Girls Wanted on NBC's Today in the 9am hour and on the AOL Build Show.
- Constance Zimmer (Good Morning, Miami) and Shirl Appleby (Sunday Dinner/Knight & Daye) - Constance and Shirl talk about Unreal on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
- Raven-Symoné (That's So Raven/Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/The Cosby Show) - Raven-Symoné guest co-hosts The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
- Kirstie Alley (Kirstie/Veronica's Closet/Cheers) - Kirstie appears on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
- Scott Foley (The Goodwin Games/Scrubs/A.U.S.A.) - Scott is a guest on People Now.