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
Monday, February 8
Superstore - "All-Nighter" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
After a long day, the entire staff is waiting for a truck to deliver new Cloud 9 signage that they'll have to hang throughout the store by morning. Everyone has somewhere to be, tensions are running high and it's only made worse when Glenn (Mark McKinney) announces that the truck is delayed and they're in for a long night. With hours to kill in an empty Cloud 9, our gang finds themselves bonding in the most unusual and creative ways.
Telenovela - "Split Personalties" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Mimi's (Diana Maria Riva) husband, Martin (guest star Ricardo Chavira), returns from prison a seemingly better man - and a much hotter one. Ana (Eva Longoria) tries to keep Mimi from getting back together with him by distracting her with a girls night out. The guys try to show Gael how to "bro out."
American Dad - "Hayley Smith, Seal Team Six" (TBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When everyone in the family agrees that 18-year-old Haley is a downer, she wonders what happened to her as a child that changed her from `Happy Haley'.
Monday, February 8
- Brie Larson (United States of Tara/Raising Dad) - Watch Brie on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
- Rebel Wilson (Super Fun Night) - Rebel visits Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- Fred Savage (The Grinder/Working/The Wonder Years) - Fred appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
- Gillian Jacobs (Community) - Gillian is a guest on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm. She also talks about Love on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
- Keke Palmer (Scream Queens/True Jackson, VP) - Keke appears on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore at 11:30pm on Comedy Central.
- David Koechner (F Is for Family/Hank/The Office) - David will be on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Kevin Nealon (Weeds/Hiller and Diller/Champs) - Kevin appears on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Jim Jefferies (Legit) - Jim is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
- Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) - Ray stops by Conan at 11pm on TBS.
- Julie Bowen (Modern Family) - Julie visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
- Ben Feldman (Superstore/A to Z/Living with Fran) - Ben discusses Superstore on The Meredith Vieira Show (check your local listings) and on People Now.
- Rachael Harris (Surviving Jack/My Boys/Notes from the Underbelly) - Rachael talks about Deadpool on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 12:30pm ET.
- Sherri Shepherd (Less Than Perfect/Sherri) - Sherri takes viewers behind the scenes of the Super Bowl on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
- Rhea Seehorn (Whitney/I'm with You) - Rhea talks about Better Call Saul on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
- Britt Lower (Man Seeking Woman) - Britt is a guest on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.