Human Flow isn’t about its creator, Ai Weiwei, but one of its key moments, occurring about a half an hour before its end, is pure Ai. On their tour of hotspots in our burgeoning global refugee crisis, the director and his crew stop at the U.S./Mexico border to capture footage and talk with locals living on the line of delineation separating the two countries. As the crew films, they are at one point interrupted by the arrival of an American yokel riding a four-wheeler. Whether he’s official or just some self-styled border patrolling vigilante is unclear, though his intent to intimidate the filmmakers is crystalline. Ai Weiwei, having spent the better part of the film’s two-hour running time demonstrating his unfailing grace alongside his bottomless compassion, scarcely reacts. He doesn’t even budge.
Lean on Pete flows with such gentle beauty that it may be hard to grasp precisely what it’s about or where it’s going. But the power of writer-director Andrew Haigh’s sublime drama is that it can support myriad interpretations while remaining teasingly mysterious—like its main character, it’s always just a bit out of reach, constantly enticing us to look closer. Based on Willy Vlautin’s 2010 novel, the movie is a smashing introduction to Charlie Plummer, who was the kidnapped John Paul Getty III in last year’s All the Money in the World. Here, he plays Charley Thompson, a 15-year-old living with his drinking, backslapping dad (Travis Fimmel) in Portland. Charley has a sweet face and a soft-spoken manner—when he talks, the last few words evaporate into the air, as if he’s too shy to even be bold enough to enunciate—but early on, we get a sense that there’s a craftiness underneath that demeanor. The first indication is his willingness to lie about his age to Del (Steve Buscemi), a craggy horse owner who reluctantly takes him on as a caretaker for his elderly racehorse Lean on Pete. Charley doesn’t know a thing about horses, but he’s anxious to find something to do now that he’s in a new town with his father, their reasons for leaving Spokane unspecified but clearly dispiriting. Familiar narrative tropes emerge in Lean on Pete: the boy-and-his-dog drama, the coming-of-age story, the father-and-son character piece, the road movie. Haigh breezes past them all, seeking something more elliptical in this deceptively slim story. With the patience and minimalist command of a Kelly Reichardt, he doesn’t dictate where his film goes, seemingly letting Charley’s restlessness call the shots. The boy’s journey gathers force and poignancy as it moves forward, and the more we understand about Charley the more unknowable he becomes. Along the way, we meet other people and see other worlds—the life of young military veterans, the reality of homelessness, the grind of the low-rent racing circuit—but Haigh views it all with the same unassuming compassion we see in Charley’s quiet eyes. —Tim Grierson
Our survey found that membership declines from the April 2018 peak spanned the income scale, although the greatest declines were among consumers in the $35,000–$74,999 income range. This is a demographic that has a near-average Prime penetration rate, meaning that the group does not exhibit the growth potential of lower-income households, which account for a smaller proportion of Prime members. But those in the $35,000–$74,999 income segment also do not have the financial security of those in higher-income households, which account for much higher-than-average subscription rates. So, these data may imply that those in the “squeezed middle” are canceling their Prime memberships at higher rates than those in other income groups, despite an apparently benign economic context.
Ai is not a man you can easily cow. If you’ve read about his trials in China, or watched Alison Klayman’s excellent 2012 documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, then you know this well enough. But watching his mettle in action in Human Flow inspires a different reaction than it does in Never Sorry. Rather than admire his boldness, we’re invited to search out that boldness in ourselves. The problem that Human Flow documents is massive and gaining in scope, chronicled first as a trickle, then a stream, then a torrent, now a deluge—soon a tsunami. The crisis of our refugees all over the world isn’t a problem one fixes merely by, for instance, banging away at a keyboard or saying pretty things in public spaces. Instead, the problem requires action, and Human Flow, generously taken at face value, is a tribute to those in the trenches: relief workers, volunteers, doctors, academics and lawmakers fighting to give refugees fleeing disease, famine and violence unimaginable to many of us the respect and protection they deserve. In turn, the film asks the audience to what lengths they would go to safeguard innocent people from harm, to give them opportunities to make their lives better. Ai has no vanity; he does not position himself as the hero. Through his devotion to his subjects, Human Flow reminds us how much work it is to help the helpless. The tragic conclusion is that we’re not doing enough. —Andy Crump
On April 28, 2015, Amazon announced its launch of Amazon Business. Amazon Business is a service that provides registered business owners with a consolidated platform for buying products and supplies from Amazon. Business users have access to shipping benefits, discounts on eligible products, purchase analytics, and price comparisons from different sellers.
Feedvisor: Very expensive algorithmic repricer that optimizes your margin by trying to win the Buy Box most of the time and takes into account other factors that affect who wins the Buy Box aside from price. Unlike any other repricer, it will raise your price (again, within limits) if you can still win the Buy Box despite the higher price. It also has a bunch of other great reporting and tools.
“Amazon has access to data that nobody else has,” said James Thomson, a former Amazon executive who now works at Buy Box Experts, a consulting firm that advises companies on how to build their brands and sell products on Amazon. “I can’t just walk into a store and say, ‘Excuse me, did you look at this brand of cereal this morning and decide not to buy it?’ Amazon has that data. They know you looked at a brand and didn’t buy it and they’re not going to share that data with any other brands.”
Promising review: “I own a BBQ food truck and we sell brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, smoked sausage, and burgers. I was looking for a faster way to pull pork. I looked at those shredders you attach to a drill, but they look like they would turn the product to mush. I brought these Bear Paws and went to pull 30 pounds of Boston Butt. What used to take 45 minutes was done in less than five. No waste. These paws do a great job of integrating the fat in with the meat. I could not be happier. As a BBQ man for 30 years, I would recommend these.” —Michael K. Powell
Promising review: "Bob Ross on socks? What more could a junior in high school want? My son is now the coolest kid to ever have walked his school's halls, and he does so in such style. The fit is perfect, not too tall and not too short when pulled up his calves while also wearing shorts and a T-shirt with every Bob Ross paint color listed, and he's 6'4". Told you he's cool. He's almost too cool for school. —Appollina
Online surveys represent Internet users and, according to the Pew Research Center’s latest published data, 88% of Americans were Internet users in 2016. The proportion of the total US population using the Internet has been climbing by around two percentage points per year, according to Pew data. So, in January 2018, when we undertook our survey, it is likely that approximately 90%–91% of Americans were Internet users.
Social commerce is heating up as Instagram launches Shopping tags in Stories and a dedicated Shopping channel in Explore, while Pinterest opens up Shop the Look pins and hits 250 million monthly users. The feature should mesh well with Snap’s young and culture-obsessed audience. In the U.S., its users are 20 percent more likely to have made a mobile purchase than non-users, and 60 percent more likely to make impulse purchases according to studies by Murphy Research and GfK.
Is it just us, or are housewarming gifts the most daunting Major Life Event gifts to buy? Presents for graduations or weddings or baby showers always seem to be easier to find, perhaps because the recipients are very clearly entering new stages that typically require something they don't currently own. Housewarmings aren't so straightforward. Your friend moving into her first-ever apartment is cause for a housewarming gift, but so is the time she moves into her tenth home. (What the heck do you get for her then?!) In an effort to make the shopping process less fraught, we've created a couple rules: 1. Go general, but still functional. Everyone appreciates a good wooden spoon, for example. 2. Only shop on Amazon. The site has everything, including glorious two-day shipping.
The service debuted on September 7, 2006 as Amazon Unbox in the United States. On September 4, 2008, the service was renamed Amazon Video on Demand. The Unbox name still refers to the local program, which as of August 2014 is no longer available for downloading purchased instant videos. On February 22, 2011, the service rebranded as Amazon Instant Video and added access to 5,000 movies and TV shows for Amazon Prime members.
Preview photos show an eclectic range, from the talking Chewbacca mask (made famous by “Chewbacca mom”), a toy cash register, the keto diet book Ketotarian, Philips Hue bulbs and other smart home appliances (that work with Amazon Alexa, naturally). And, of course, Kindles, Echos, and other Amazon goods—which the firm notes have average reviews far above 4.0.
In August 2007, Amazon announced AmazonFresh, a grocery service offering perishable and nonperishable foods. Customers could have orders delivered to their homes at dawn or during a specified daytime window. Delivery was initially restricted to residents of Mercer Island, Washington, and was later expanded to several ZIP codes in Seattle proper. AmazonFresh also operated pick-up locations in the suburbs of Bellevue and Kirkland from summer 2007 through early 2008.