In March 2014, Amazon increased the annual US membership fee for Amazon Prime from $79 to $99. Shortly after this change, Amazon announced Prime Music, providing unlimited, ad-free music streaming. In November 2014, Amazon added Prime Photos, adding unlimited storage of files deemed to be photographs in the users' Amazon Drive. Amazon began offering free same-day delivery to Prime members in 14 United States metropolitan areas in May 2015.
Try as you might to rationalize Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, mother! does not accept rationalization. There’s little reasonable ways to construct a single cohesive interpretation of what the movie tries to tell us. There is no evidence of Aronosfky’s intention beyond what we’ve intuited from watching his films since the ’90s—as well as how often Aronofsky loves to talk about his own work, which is usually worth avoiding, because Aronofsky likes thinking the movie is about everything. The most ironclad comment you can make about mother! is that it’s basically a matryoshka doll layered with batshit insanity. Unpack the first, and you’re met immediately by the next tier of crazy, and then the next, and so on, until you’ve unpacked the whole thing and seen it for what it is: A spiritual rumination on the divine ego, a plea for environmental stewardship, an indictment of entitled invasiveness, an apocalyptic vision of America in 2017, a demonstration of man’s tendency to leech everything from the women they love until they’re nothing but a carbonized husk, a very triggering reenactment of the worst house party you’ve ever thrown. mother! is a kitchen sink movie in the most literal sense: There’s an actual kitchen sink here, Aronofsky’s idea of a joke, perhaps, or just a necessarily transparent warning. mother!, though, is about everything. Maybe the end result is that it’s also about nothing. But it’s really about whatever you can yank out of it, its elasticity the most terrifying thing about it. —Andy Crump
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
On top of 4-star, Amazon has expanded its retail presence beyond its Whole Foods purchase. Amazon opened its first bookstore in 2015 and now boasts over 15 Amazon Books locations throughout the U.S., with plans to open more. Furthermore, the e-commerce power runs four cashierless convenience store-style, Amazon-Go locations along with pop-up stores.
Elena Ledoux is the founder of MommyGO, a company which makes natural energy products for busy moms that are sold on Amazon. “There is a lot of negative sentiment around Amazon's unfair advantage, which is justified,” says Ledoux, commenting on Amazon’s ability to drive more product reviews for its own stable of brands. “However, everyone forgets about a fair advantage that a product maker can have - to have a superior product. At the end of the day, you can be successful even with fewer reviews if your product is legitimately better.”
Prime Video offers thousands of movies and TV shows, including popular licensed and self-published content plus critically-acclaimed and award-winning Prime Originals like The Grand Tour, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Tick, Amazon Original Movies such as Academy Award-winning Manchester by the Sea, The Big Sick and The Salesman and kids series, Tumble Leaf, available for unlimited streaming as part of an Amazon Prime membership. Prime Video is also now available to customers in more than 200 countries and territories around the globe at www.primevideo.com.
European regulators are closely watching how Amazon uses its own sales data to potentially gain an unfair advantage over marketplace sellers. Margrethe Vestager, the EU commissioner for competition, recently said that, while there are no accusations against Amazon at this point, her department has started a "preliminary investigation" into how the company may be copying best-selling products by competitors.
The only issue, however, is that while it’s easy-peasy to load up on veggies, meats, and dairy during mealtimes, finding yourself starving at 4 p.m. without a suitable snack can be quite the downer. Fear not, keto crusader, because there’s more to life (or more to Amazon, at least) than tortilla chips and chocolate chip cookies. These nine keto snacks are only a couple of clicks away.
Society is perhaps what you would have ended up with in the earlier ’80s if David Cronenberg had a more robust sense of humor. Rather, this bizarre deconstruction of Reagan-era yuppiehood came from Brian Yuzna, well-known to horror fans for his partnership with Stuart Gordon, which produced the likes of Re-Animator and From Beyond…and eventually Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, believe it or not. Society is a weird film on every level, a feverish descent into what may or may not be paranoia when a popular high school guy begins questioning whether his family members (and indeed, the entire town) are involved in some sinister, sexual, exceedingly icky business. Plot takes a backseat to dark comedy and a creepily foreboding sense that we’re building to a revelatory conclusion, which absolutely does not disappoint. The effects work, suffice it to say, produces some of the most batshit crazy visuals in the history of film—there are disgusting sights here that you won’t see anywhere else, outside of perhaps an early Peter Jackson movie, a la Dead Alive. But Society’s ambitions are considerably grander than that Jackson’s gross-out classic: It takes aim at its own title and the tendency of insular communities to prey upon the outside world to create social satire of the highest (and grossest) order. —Jim Vorel
Promising review: "As a clumsy person (like, get-kicked-out-of-stores-because-you've-accidentally-knocked-over-two-displays-while-trying-to-pick-up-the-original-display-you-knocked-over clumsy) who loves nail painting, this has been a gift sent down from Cedric Diggory himself. I love this thing! I haven't been able to spill nail polish once, and that is a feat and a miracle. Even if you're not ultra-clumsy, it's just a convenient helper when nail painting." —JL Dice
Weinswig further remarks, “Amazon has strengthened its North America revenue growth even in the face of much slower Prime membership expansion, as recorded by Prosper. This comes despite Prime driving Amazon’s sales, and it implies that each Prime customer is becoming increasingly valuable to Amazon. We’ll be watching closely to see whether the recently recorded leveling-off in membership rates feeds through to a slowing of Amazon’s progress in the US.”