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
Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is a fearsome competitor. No company has posted the growth that it has for so many years off such a large base. And no stock has been given so much leeway by investors. It’s remained on pretty much every list of best stocks to buy, and traded at huge valuations. That patience has allowed Amazon to trade near-term margins for long-term market share. Its reach has become so vast that it almost seems that there are no Amazon-proof stocks left.
In March 2006, Amazon launched an online storage service called Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). An unlimited number of data objects, from 1 byte to 5 terabytes in size, can be stored in S3 and distributed via HTTP or BitTorrent. The service charges monthly fees for data stored and transferred. In 2006, Amazon introduced Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), a distributed queue messaging service, and product wikis (later folded into Amapedia) and discussion forums for certain products using guidelines that follow standard message board conventions.
Good delivery system, reasonably priced, decent movie and tv show selection, but some of the original programming is mediocre ranging to so-bad-it’ll-set-your-teeth-on-edge bad, shows like Transparent or Mozart in the Jungle start off strong but quickly degenerate into the worst Showtime-like cheesy schmaltz of star pimping, tired old tropes taking the place of plots, and comic relief comprising little more than a parade of characters written solely as one walking quirk each, while others like The Man in the High Castle are just jarringly bad from the get-go, seemingly written by a committee who studied what tonal elements make up a dystopian setting and then assembled these elements while committing zero interiority to the show. Aesthetics and taste are not Jeff Bezos’ strong suits, apparently. But otherwise this is a fine service, just don’t accidentally step off into Amazon’s own focus group-driven attempts at film or television production and you’ll be fine.
Some commentators have argued that the Amazon website is not equipped to provide a quality experience for browsing, searching and discovering fashion ranges. After all, Amazon established its position by serving as a kind of catalog for products that shoppers buy based mostly on specifications, such as books and electronics—but fashion shoppers tend to browse and buy differently.
On May 10, 2016, Amazon launched a Video Service called Amazon Video Direct which allows users to place videos available to rent or own, to view free with ads, or to be bundled together, and offered as an ad-on subscription. Amazon will pay creators 50% of the revenue earned from rental or sale of the videos, but for ad-supported videos, the makers will get a portion of ad receipts.
But as Amazon uses its powerful platform to bolster its private-label business, there is also debate in legal circles whether some of its activities could be viewed as monopolistic in nature. Some say Amazon could face a legal challenge akin in size and scope to when the Department of Justice two decades ago filed antitrust charges against Microsoft for bundling its own browser into its software, making it difficult for consumers to install a browser from Microsoft’s top competitor, Netscape. Microsoft lost that court battle.
There need not be a documentary about the Syrian catastrophe to rally the world around its cause—just as, in Matthew Heineman’s previous film, Cartel Land, there was no need to vilify the world of Mexican cartels or the DEA or the paramilitaristic nationalists patrolling our Southern borders to confirm that murder and drug trafficking are bad. The threats are known and the stakes understood, at least conceptually. And yet, by offering dedicated, deeply intimate portraits of the people caught up in these crises, Heineman complicates them beyond all repair, placing himself in undoubtedly death-defying situations to offer a perspective whose only bias is instinctual. So it is with City of Ghosts, in which he follows members of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, a group committed to using citizen-based journalism to expose the otherwise covered-up atrocities committed by ISIS and the Assad regime in Syria. In hiding, in Turkey and Germany and at an event for journalists in the U.S.—in exile—these men, who Heineman characterizes as a very young and even more reluctant resistance, tell of both the increasingly sophisticated multimedia methods of ISIS and their hopes for feeling safe enough to settle and start a family with equal trepidation about what they’ve conditioned themselves to never believe: That perhaps they’ll never be safe. Heineman could have easily bore witness to the atrocities himself, watching these men as they watch, over and over, videos of their loved ones executed by ISIS, a piquant punishment for their crimes of resistance. There is much to be said about the responsibility of seeing in our world today, after all. Instead, while City of Ghosts shares plenty of horrifying images, the director more often that not shields the audience from the graphic details, choosing to focus his up-close camera work on the faces of these men as they take on the responsibility of bearing witness, steeling themselves for a potential lifetime of horror in which everything they know and love will be taken from them. By the time Heineman joins these men as they receive the 2015 International Press Freedom Award for their work, the clapping, beaming journalists in the audience practically indict themselves, unable to see how these Syrian men want to be doing anything but what they feel they must, reinforcing the notion that what seems to count as international reportage anymore is the exact kind of lack of nuance that Heineman so beautifully, empathetically wants to call out. —Dom Sinacola
In December 2015, Amazon stated that "tens of millions" of people were Amazon Prime members. Amazon Prime added 3 million members during the third week of December 2015. That month Amazon announced the creation of the Streaming Partners Program, a subscription service that provides Amazon Prime subscribers with additional streaming video services. Among the programming providers involved in the program are Showtime, Starz (with additional content from sister network Encore), Lifetime Movie Club (containing recent original movie titles from Lifetime Television and Lifetime Movie Network), Smithsonian Earth, and Qello Concerts.
The main body of this report discusses our survey findings, question by question. We have also provided an appendix that aggregates various third-party research firms’ estimates of Amazon’s US apparel sales in order to give readers a more complete picture. First, though, we bring together data points from various questions in our survey as we discuss six major themes that emerged from our research.
In which we bask in Vince Vaughn’s hugeness, witnessing S. Craig Zahler’s pitch-perfect ode to grindhouse cinema draw the best of extremes out of an actor who’s had a rough couple years crawling out from under the parody of himself. This is not Vince Vaughn playing Bradley Thomas, stolid brute willing to do whatever it takes to protect his family, it is the silhouette of Vince Vaughn, silent and bigger than everyone else in the room, a spectre of bruised flesh—so much flesh—descending circle by circle into Hades, his odyssey heralded by the likes of Don Johnson and Udo Kier (both seemingly born to be in this endlessly compelling, awfully fucked-up movie) and soundtracked by soul/RnB icons like the O’Jays and Butch Tavares. It confirms that Zahler—along with Bone Tomahawk—is on some Tarantino levels of modern genre filmmaking—which could honestly be a pejorative, were Brawl in Cell Block 99 less finely tuned, less patient and less breathlessly violent. By the time Bradley lurches into irrevocable action, foreshadowed by an opening scene in which he rips apart a car with his bare hands, which is exactly as that sounds, every life force he snuffs out with maximum barbarity also comes with pure satisfaction, the Id of anyone who’s into this kind of thing stroked to completion. —Dom Sinacola
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.