In the months following the tragic death of Steve Jobs in 2011, there was news of several books dedicated to retelling the story of the iconic figure’s life. The biggest book of them all, though, was Steve Jobs, written by Walter Isaacson with the full cooperation of Jobs along with his family and colleagues. Now, a new book is on the way, and again, the writers had inside access to those who collaborated with Jobs, including Pixar’s John Lasseter and Ed Catmull. [Read more…]
The unsubtle art of product placement has been present in film dating all the way back to the era of the silents. As of late, however, people have grown so tired of seeing real-life products or brand names being painfully evident that it becomes the first topic to discuss, as opposed to the plot or characters. (A recent example is Man of Steel, in which Ma Kent works at the local Sears, per her prominently displayed nametag, which she’s seen wearing at home.) Product placement by itself is not automatically a bad thing. Sometimes, it’s used subtly enough by a filmmaker to not be obnoxious; using a fake generic name for Google or a similar search engine, for example, can often be worse than seeing a character just go to Google. On the flip side, some filmmakers or actors are so blatant about the product placement that it becomes satire; you’d have to look to TV for the prominent examples, such as David Cross hawking Burger King on Arrested Development or Tina Fey on 30 Rock looking into the camera and asking for “our money” after bragging about her cool new cell phone. To take money from sponsors and using their products in your film is a delicate balance, in short; being too obvious may bother audiences.
Historically, Blu-ray and DVD releases of films were the venue of choice for behind-the-scenes extras, while digital downloads tended to include solely the film and perhaps a short featurette delving into one aspect of the filmmaking process. That has changed recently, though, as downloadable copies of films have included many more extras and sometimes contain exclusive features that are not available elsewhere. Monsters University has just been released for digital download on iTunes, and it packs in a wealth of extras including deleted scenes. Find more details after the break!