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Exam Code: SAA-C03 AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate exam contents January 2024 by team

SAA-C03 AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate

Title: AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate (SAA-C03)

Test Detail:
The AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate (SAA-C03) exam validates the knowledge and skills required to design and deploy scalable, highly available, and fault-tolerant systems on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. This certification is designed for individuals who work as solutions architects and are responsible for designing and implementing AWS-based applications.

Course Outline:
The AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate course provides participants with comprehensive knowledge and hands-on experience in designing and deploying applications on AWS. The following is a general outline of the key areas covered in the certification program:

1. Introduction to AWS:
- Overview of AWS services and the AWS Management Console
- Understanding the AWS global infrastructure and regions
- Key AWS architectural principles and best practices

2. AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM):
- Managing user accounts and access with IAM
- Configuring IAM policies and roles for secure access
- Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) for enhanced security

3. Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3):
- Understanding S3 storage classes and features
- Configuring S3 buckets and managing object lifecycle
- Implementing data encryption and security in S3

4. Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2):
- Selecting and launching EC2 instances
- Configuring security groups and network access control
- Managing EC2 instances and scaling resources

5. Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC):
- Designing and implementing VPC networks and subnets
- Configuring network access control lists (ACLs) and route tables
- Connecting VPCs with VPN and Direct Connect

6. AWS Database Services:
- Understanding AWS database services such as Amazon RDS and Amazon DynamoDB
- Designing and implementing scalable and highly available databases
- Configuring backup, restore, and replication for database services

7. AWS Security and Compliance:
- Implementing security best practices in AWS environments
- Configuring AWS security services such as AWS WAF and AWS Shield
- Understanding AWS compliance programs and regulations

Exam Objectives:
The AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate (SAA-C03) exam assesses candidates' understanding of AWS services, architecture design principles, and best practices for deploying applications on AWS. The exam objectives include, but are not limited to:

1. Designing and deploying scalable, highly available, and fault-tolerant systems on AWS.
2. Selecting appropriate AWS services based on compute, storage, database, and security requirements.
3. Understanding and implementing AWS architectural best practices.
4. Designing secure and compliant applications on AWS.

The AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate certification program typically includes instructor-led training and hands-on labs provided by AWS or authorized training partners. The syllabus provides a breakdown of the topics covered throughout the course, including specific learning objectives and milestones. The syllabus may include the following components:

- Introduction to AWS and the SAA-C03 exam
- AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)
- Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)
- Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
- Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
- AWS Database Services
- AWS Security and Compliance
- Exam Preparation and Practice Tests
- Final AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate Certification Exam
AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate
Amazon Certified exam contents

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DAS-C01 AWS Certified Data Analytics - Specialty (DAS-C01)
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AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate
Question: 68
A company is running an SMB file server in its data center. The file server stores large files that are accessed frequently for the first few days after the files are
created. After 7 days the files are rarely accessed.
The total data size is increasing and is close to the companys total storage capacity. A solutions architect must increase the companys available storage space
without losing low-latency access to the most recently accessed files. The solutions architect must also provide file lifecycle management to avoid future
storage issues.
Which solution will meet these requirements?
A. Use AWS DataSync to copy data that is older than 7 days from the SMB file server to AWS.
B. Create an Amazon S3 File Gateway to extend the companys storage space. Create an S3 Lifecycle policy to transition the data to S3 Glacier Deep Archive
after 7 days.
C. Create an Amazon FSx for Windows File Server file system to extend the companys storage space.
D. Install a utility on each users computer to access Amazon S3. Create an S3 Lifecycle policy to transition the data to S3 Glacier Flexible Retrieval after 7
Answer: D
Question: 69
A solutions architect is developing a multiple-subnet VPC architecture. The solution will consist of six subnets in two Availability Zones. The subnets are
defined as public, private and dedicated for databases. Only the Amazon EC2 instances running in the private subnets should be able to access a database.
Which solution meets these requirements?
A. Create a now route table that excludes the route to the public subnets CIDR blocks. Associate the route table to the database subnets.
B. Create a security group that denies ingress from the security group used by instances in the public subnets. Attach the security group to an Amazon RDS DB
C. Create a security group that allows ingress from the security group used by instances in the private subnets. Attach the security group to an Amazon RDS
DB instance.
D. Create a new peering connection between the public subnets and the private subnets. Create a different peering connection between the private subnets and
the database subnets.
Answer: C
Security groups are stateful. All inbound traffic is blocked by default. If you create an inbound rule allowing traffic in, that traffic is automatically allowed back
out again. You cannot block specific IP address using Security groups (instead use Network Access Control Lists).
"You can specify allow rules, but not deny rules." "When you first create a security group, it has no inbound rules. Therefore, no inbound traffic originating
from another host to your instance is allowed until you add inbound rules to the security group." Source:
Question: 70
A company runs its Infrastructure on AWS and has a registered base of 700.000 users for res document management application. The company intends to create
a product that converts large pdf files to jpg Imago files. The .pdf files average 5 MB in size. The company needs to store the original files and the converted
files. A solutions architect must design a scalable solution to accommodate demand that will grow rapidly over lime.
Which solution meets these requirements MOST cost-effectively?
A. Save the pdf files to Amazon S3 Configure an S3 PUT event to invoke an AWS Lambda function to convert the files to jpg format and store them back in
Amazon S3
B. Save the pdf files to Amazon DynamoDB. Use the DynamoDB Streams feature to invoke an AWS Lambda function to convert the files to jpg format and
store them hack in DynamoDB
C. Upload the pdf files to an AWS Elastic Beanstalk application that includes Amazon EC2 instances. Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) storage and
an Auto Scaling group. Use a program In the EC2 instances to convert the files to jpg format Save the .pdf files and the .jpg files In the EBS store.
D. Upload the .pdf files to an AWS Elastic Beanstalk application that includes Amazon EC2 instances, Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EPS) storage, and
an Auto Scaling group. Use a program in the EC2 instances to convert the file to jpg format Save the pdf files and the jpg files in the EBS store.
Answer: D
Question: 71
A company is deploying a new public web application to AWS. The application will run behind an Application Load Balancer (ALB). The application needs to
be encrypted at the edge with an SSL/TLS certificate that is issued by an external certificate authority (CA). The certificate must be rotated each year before the
certificate expires.
What should a solutions architect do to meet these requirements?
A. Use AWS Certificate Manager (ACM) to issue an SSL/TLS certificate. Apply the certificate to the ALB. Use the managed renewal feature to automatically
rotate the certificate.
B. Use AWS Certificate Manager (ACM) to issue an SSL/TLS certificate. Import the key material from the certificate. Apply the certificate to the ALB. Use the
managed renewal feature to automatically rotate the certificate.
C. Use AWS Certificate Manager (ACM) Private Certificate Authority to issue an SSL/TLS certificate from the root CA. Apply the certificate to the ALB. Use
the managed renewal feature to automatically rotate the certificate.
D. Use AWS Certificate Manager (ACM) to import an SSL/TLS certificate. Apply the certificate to the ALB. Use Amazon EventBridge (Amazon CloudWatch
Events) to send a notification when the certificate is nearing expiration. Rotate the certificate manually.
Answer: D
Question: 72
A company hosts more than 300 global websites and applications. The company requires a platform to analyze more than 30 TB of clickstream data each day.
What should a solutions architect do to transmit and process the clickstream data?
A. Design an AWS Data Pipeline to archive the data to an Amazon S3 bucket and run an Amazon EMR duster with the data to generate analytics
B. Create an Auto Scaling group of Amazon EC2 instances to process the data and send it to an Amazon S3 data lake for Amazon Redshift to use tor analysis
C. Cache the data to Amazon CloudFron: Store the data in an Amazon S3 bucket When an object is added to the S3 bucket, run an AWS Lambda function to
process the data tor analysis.
D. Collect the data from Amazon Kinesis Data Streams. Use Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose to transmit the data to an Amazon S3 data lake Load the data in
Amazon Redshift for analysis
Answer: D
Question: 73
A companys HTTP application is behind a Network Load Balancer (NLB). The NLBs target group is configured to use an Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling group
with multiple EC2 instances that run the web service.
The company notices that the NLB is not detecting HTTP errors for the application. These errors require a manual restart of the EC2 instances that run the web
service. The company needs to improve the applications availability without writing custom scripts or code.
What should a solutions architect do to meet these requirements?
A. Enable HTTP health checks on the NLB. supplying the URL of the companys application.
B. Add a cron job to the EC2 instances to check the local applications logs once each minute. If HTTP errors are detected, the application will restart.
C. Replace the NLB with an Application Load Balancer. Enable HTTP health checks by supplying the URL of the companys application. Configure an Auto
Scaling action to replace unhealthy instances.
D. Create an Amazon Cloud Watch alarm that monitors the Unhealthy HostCount metric for the NLB. Configure an Auto Scaling action to replace unhealthy
instances when the alarm is in the ALARM state.
Answer: C
Question: 74
A company is developing an application that provides order shipping statistics for retrieval by a REST API. The company wants to extract the shipping
statistics, organize the data into an easy-to-read HTML format, and send the report to several email addresses at the same time every morning.
Which combination of steps should a solutions architect take to meet these requirements? (Choose two.)
A. Configure the application to send the data to Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose.
B. Use Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES) to format the data and to send the report by email.
C. Create an Amazon EventBridge (Amazon CloudWatch Events) scheduled event that invokes an AWS Glue job to query the applications API for the data.
D. Create an Amazon EventBridge (Amazon CloudWatch Events) scheduled event that invokes an AWS Lambda function to query the applications API for the
E. Store the application data in Amazon S3. Create an Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) topic as an S3 event destination to send the report
Answer: DE
Question: 75
A company runs an ecommerce application on Amazon EC2 instances behind an Application Load Balancer. The instances run in an Amazon EC2 Auto
Scaling group across multiple Availability Zones. The Auto Scaling group scales based on CPU utilization metrics. The ecommerce application stores the
transaction data in a MySQL 8.0 database that is hosted on a large EC2 instance.
The databases performance degrades quickly as application load increases. The application handles more read requests than write transactions. The company
wants a solution that will automatically scale the database to meet the demand of unpredictable read workloads while maintaining high availability.
Which solution will meet these requirements?
A. Use Amazon Redshift with a single node for leader and compute functionality.
B. Use Amazon RDS with a Single-AZ deployment Configure Amazon RDS to add reader instances in a different Availability Zone.
C. Use Amazon Aurora with a Multi-AZ deployment. Configure Aurora Auto Scaling with Aurora Replicas.
D. Use Amazon ElastiCache for Memcached with EC2 Spot Instances.
Answer: C
Question: 76
A company has a website hosted on AWS. The website is behind an Application Load Balancer (ALB) that is configured to handle HTTP and HTTPS
separately. The company wants to forward all requests to the website so that the requests will use HTTPS.
What should a solutions architect do to meet this requirement?
A. Update the ALBs network ACL to accept only HTTPS traffic
B. Create a rule that replaces the HTTP in the URL with HTTPS.
C. Create a listener rule on the ALB to redirect HTTP traffic to HTTPS.
D. Replace the ALB with a Network Load Balancer configured to use Server Name Indication (SNI).
Answer: C
How can I redirect HTTP requests to HTTPS using an Application Load Balancer? Last updated: 2020-10-30 I want to redirect HTTP requests to HTTPS using
Application Load Balancer listener rules.
How can I do this? Resolution
Question: 77
A company needs to configure a real-time data ingestion architecture for its application. The company needs an API, a process that transforms data as the data
is streamed, and a storage solution for the data.
Which solution will meet these requirements with the LEAST operational overhead?
A. Deploy an Amazon EC2 instance to host an API that sends data to an Amazon Kinesis data stream. Create an Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose delivery stream
that uses the Kinesis data stream as a data source. Use AWS Lambda functions to transform the data. Use the Kinesis Data Firehose delivery stream to send the
data to Amazon S3.
B. Deploy an Amazon EC2 instance to host an API that sends data to AWS Glue. Stop source/destination checking on the EC2 instance. Use AWS Glue to
transform the data and to send the data to Amazon S3.
C. Configure an Amazon API Gateway API to send data to an Amazon Kinesis data stream. Create an Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose delivery stream that uses
the Kinesis data stream as a data source. Use AWS Lambda functions to transform the data. Use the Kinesis Data Firehose delivery stream to send the data to
Amazon S3.
D. Configure an Amazon API Gateway API to send data to AWS Glue. Use AWS Lambda functions to transform the data. Use AWS Glue to send the data to
Amazon S3.
Answer: C
Question: 78
A company is migrating applications to AWS. The applications are deployed in different accounts. The company manages the accounts centrally by using AWS
Organizations. The companys security team needs a single sign-on (SSO) solution across all the companys accounts. The company must continue managing
the users and groups in its on-premises self-managed Microsoft Active Directory.
Which solution will meet these requirements?
A. Enable AWS Single Sign-On (AWS SSO) from the AWS SSO console. Create a one-way forest trust or a one-way domain trust to connect the companys
self-managed Microsoft Active Directory with AWS SSO by using AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory.
B. Enable AWS Single Sign-On (AWS SSO) from the AWS SSO console. Create a two-way forest trust to connect the companys self-managed Microsoft
Active Directory with AWS SSO by using AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory.
C. Use AWS Directory Service. Create a two-way trust relationship with the companys self-managed Microsoft Active Directory.
D. Deploy an identity provider (IdP) on premises. Enable AWS Single Sign-On (AWS SSO) from the AWS SSO console.
Answer: A
Question: 79
A company hosts its multi-tier applications on AWS. For compliance, governance, auditing, and security, the company must track configuration changes on its
AWS resources and record a history of API calls made to these resources.
What should a solutions architect do to meet these requirements?
A. Use AWS CloudTrail to track configuration changes and AWS Config to record API calls
B. Use AWS Config to track configuration changes and AWS CloudTrail to record API calls
C. Use AWS Config to track configuration changes and Amazon CloudWatch to record API calls
D. Use AWS CloudTrail to track configuration changes and Amazon CloudWatch to record API calls
Answer: B
Question: 80
A company needs guaranteed Amazon EC2 capacity in three specific Availability Zones in a specific
AWS Region for an upcoming event that will last 1 week.
What should the company do to guarantee the EC2 capacity?
A. Purchase Reserved instances that specify the Region needed
B. Create an On Demand Capacity Reservation that specifies the Region needed
C. Purchase Reserved instances that specify the Region and three Availability Zones needed
D. Create an On-Demand Capacity Reservation that specifies the Region and three Availability Zones needed
Answer: D
"When you create a Capacity Reservation, you specify:
The Availability Zone in which to reserve the capacity"
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Roundtables and certification schemes in the Pan-Amazon
  • Mongabay has begun publishing a new edition of the book, “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon,” in short installments and in three languages: Spanish, English and Portuguese.
  • Author Timothy J. Killeen is an academic and expert who, since the 1980s, has studied the rainforests of Brazil and Bolivia, where he lived for more than 35 years.
  • Chronicling the efforts of nine Amazonian countries to curb deforestation, this edition provides an overview of the topics most relevant to the conservation of the region’s biodiversity, ecosystem services and Indigenous cultures, as well as a description of the conventional and sustainable development models that are vying for space within the regional economy.
  • Click the “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon” link atop this page to see chapters 1-13 as they are published during 2023 and 2024.

Sustainability initiatives have been organised for most of the agricultural commodities of the Pan Amazon, including palm oil, soy and beef, but also for coffee and cacao. Several of these initiatives have adopted the term roundtable in their names because it conveys the notion of inclusiveness that is a core concept in these multi-stakeholder initiatives. Typically, the stakeholders include all the participants in a supply chain, from the farmer to the retailer, but also commodity traders, consumer goods manufacturers, banks and service supplies, as well as civil society groups.

Their shared goal is to identify effective solutions to the social and environmental challenges associated with conventional production systems. The mechanism used to reform supply chains is typically a voluntary certification system that verifies that the production, trade and transformation of a commodity has complied with a set of best practices that have been agreed to by all the parties. The search for consensus is important, because it means all of the stakeholders have agreed to accept this package of solutions and commit to supporting the commercialisation of the goods that have been certified as sustainable.

Some environmental activists view these initiatives as a form of greenwash and have questioned their efficacy. Participating companies certify the production within their own supply chain, but roundtable initiatives have not succeeded in transforming their respective sectors. Demand for certified commodities has failed to attract a critical mass of producers that would actually transform the market and change the economic drivers of deforestation.

Adoption is highest for coffee (40%) and cocoa (22%), while commodities linked to industrial plantations tend to be lower: palm oil (20%), sugar (3%) soy (2%) and beef (<1%). Part of the explanation for the slow uptake of the voluntary standards is the lack of demand; typically, only about fifty per cent of certified production is actually sold as a certified commodity.

Road through soybean fields and forests in Bolivia. Image by Rhett A. Butler.

The lack of uptake is yet another manifestation of the dilemma of allocating the cost of environmental protection and social justice. Sustainability protocols cost money, which either adds to the price of a consumer good or reduces the profit margin of commodity producers. Although North American and European consumers are concerned about deforestation, most still choose a lower-cost product, while those in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East are overwhelmingly focused on price. Moreover, global commodity markets are dominated by producers on landscapes that were transformed by agriculture decades or centuries in the past, and these farmers operate without fear of being accused of environmental crimes. Consequently, traders are not motivated to pay a premium to farmers on the agricultural frontier.

A few producers seek to differentiate their products as organic, deforestation-free, fair-trade or antibiotic-free because they are selling their products into a differentiated market and receive a premium for their production in compensation for the extra cost and reduced yields that these systems [allegedly] entail. Others participate because it guarantees them market access. Most producers opt to circumvent the voluntary guidelines or sell to traders unconcerned about sustainability or just ignore the whole process entirely.

Social advocates have questioned the economic benefits of certification because they tend to discriminate against small-scale producers who cannot meet the record-keeping and logistical demands of a certification process. These protocols are negotiated by large-scale producers that dominate the roundtable initiatives and tailor the certification criteria to their supply chains. As formalisation spreads throughout national and international markets, smallholders could be increasingly marginalised within regional and even local markets in contradiction with the stated social objectives of these certification schemes.

“A Perfect Storm in the Amazon” is a book by Timothy Killeen and contains the author’s viewpoints and analysis. The second edition was published by The White Horse in 2021, under the terms of a Creative Commons license (CC BY 4.0 license).

Read the other excerpted portions of chapter 3 here:

Chapter 3. Agriculture: Profitability determines land use

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How To Get PMP Certification: Is PMP Certification Worth It?

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations.

Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification can make you stand out against the competition in the field of project management. If you’ve wondered how to get PMP certification, know that you must first complete work experience, training courses and an exam.

But is PMP certification worth it? In this article, we’ll explore what it takes to get certified, how much you might have to pay and how PMP certification can help you level up your project management career.

What Is PMP Certification?

Professional certifications verify your career skills and allow you to learn more about important concepts and industry best practices that can help in your day-to-day operations.

PMP certification is the most widely recognized in the world of project management. It’s available through the Project Management Institute (PMI), which publishes the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). The PMBOK is the Holy Grail of knowledge when it comes to project management concepts.

PMP certification demonstrates a strong understanding of the concepts set forth in the PMBOK and other reference materials. This designation can help you distinguish yourself from your peers and gain respected credentials in your field. Along the way, you’ll learn about concepts like Agile, waterfall project scheduling, leadership and business management.

How to Sign Up for PMP Certification

The first step to earning PMP certification is to begin work in the field of project management. PMP certification requires months of work experience. Precise requirements vary depending on your level of education. If you have a bachelor’s degree, you’ll need 36 months of relevant project experience to qualify for the PMP credential. Without a degree, you must complete 60 months of experience.

If you have this work experience or are working toward it, the next step is to complete at least 35 hours of formal PMP training, also called “contact hours,” or hold a current CAPM certification. You can complete contact hours through a PMP certification course, which you may take online or in person. These courses take a few weeks to a few months to complete, and they teach the concepts you should understand before taking the PMP certification exam.

Below, we’ll discuss how to get a PMP certification in more detail, including prerequisites and PMP exam costs.

PMP Certification Requirements

You must accomplish a certain amount of professional experience and formal training before you qualify for PMP certification.

If you have completed high school or an associate degree but not a bachelor’s, PMP certification requirements are as follows.

  • 60 months leading projects
  • 35 contact hours

If you have a bachelor’s degree, you must complete the following before pursuing PMP certification.

  • 36 months leading projects
  • 35 contact hours

PMP Cost

Most PMP certification training programs (through which you can earn your contact hours) range in cost from around $300 to around $3,000. Courses offered through well-known colleges and universities tend to cost more, but many also offer for-credit programs that result in undergraduate or graduate certificates. Consider a program that holds GAC accreditation when searching for courses. Free PMP certification training is available through some resources, but usually only for short trial periods.

To sit for the exam, the cost is $405 for PMI members or $575 for nonmembers.

PMP Time Commitment

How long does it take to get PMP certification? The most time-consuming part of the PMP certification process is completing the required work experience. Start documenting your work experience as soon as you consider applying for PMP certification. Once you get that experience under your belt, the rest of the certification process involves studying and scheduling your test. The time spent on this step can vary depending on your schedule and study habits, location and testing center availability.

Most PMP certification training courses take only a few weeks to a few months to complete. After that, it’s up to you how much time you spend studying for the certification exam. Retakes cost $275 for PMI members and $375 for nonmembers, so it’s best to go into the exam as prepared as possible.

PMP Renewal Costs

Once you’ve passed the PMP exam, you must complete a certain level of continuing education to keep your certification active. The renewal fee, due every three years, is $60 for PMI members or $150 for nonmembers.

Is PMP Certification Worth It?

To determine whether PMP certification is worth it to you, weigh the costs of certification against the potential benefits. Since we’ve listed the costs of PMP certification above, you likely have a good idea of the investment you’d need to make to get certified. Now, it’s time to consider your potential return on that investment.

Benefits of PMP certification

  • Salary increase. PMPs in the U.S. earn about 32% more than their non-certified peers in project management.
  • Greater respect in the industry. The Project Management Institute is the leading organization for project management knowledge and the publisher of the PMBOK. Earning PMP certification through PMI carries lots of weight in the project management industry.
  • Greater career opportunities. Holding PMP certification should make you more marketable when it comes to looking for better or different positions in project management.

Consider Your Career

Are you looking to make a career change? Move into a higher role in your current team? In either case, PMP certification could be just what you need to level up your career. As part of the certification process, you’ll learn industry best practices that you can start incorporating into your day-to-day work life immediately.

Look at Earning Potential vs. Certification Cost

According to PMI, PMP-certified professionals in the U.S. earn a median annual salary of $123,000, compared to a median of $93,000 for their non-certified colleagues. This translates to a 32% salary increase for certified PMPs.

Multiply your current salary by 1.32 to estimate your potential PMP certification salary. You can then weigh that salary increase against the cost of PMP certification training and the PMP exam. This cost vs. benefit analysis can help you understand whether PMP certification would be worth it for you.

Mon, 11 Dec 2023 23:13:00 -0600 Christin Perry en-US text/html
Amazon Prime Video streaming content to include ‘limited advertisements’

Subscribers to Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service will start seeing commercials in films and TV shows from early next year unless they pay an extra £2.99 for an ad-free experience.

The company said customers in the UK and Germany would begin to see “limited advertisements” in its streaming content after 5 February. Prime Video users in the US will start seeing adverts from 29 January.

Rivals Netflix and Disney have already introduced cheaper ad-supported streaming packages in an attempt to win over cost-conscious consumers worried about soaring household bills. However, Amazon’s tier with ads is not cheaper and customers will have to instead pay more to watch without.

The large streaming companies have adjusted their business models after the post-pandemic slowdown in subscriber growth, seeking to shift loss-making services to profitability by introducing ad tiers, raising prices and cutting spending on content.

In an email to Prime Video members, Amazon said the move would allow the company to “continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing investment over a long period of time”.

Amazon said it would not swamp viewers with messaging, saying that it would have “meaningfully fewer ads than ad-supported TV channels and other streaming TV providers”.

The company revealed earlier this year that it planned to follow its rivals and roll out advertising in countries including the UK, US, Germany and Canada.

Amazon’s Prime subscription, which includes access to its music and video streaming services and perks including free and fast delivery on packages, costs £8.99 a month in the UK. The company said it would not be changing the price of the service next year, unless customers opted to pay the extra for the ad-free option.

Netflix, which began to roll out its ad tier in late 2022, has said that it has about 15 million customers globally now signed up to it. The streaming company charges £4.99 a month for the basic tier, significantly less than its £10.99 standard ad-free package.

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Disney+ charges £4.99 a month for its service with ads, which launched in the UK in August, or £7.99 for its standard ad-free package.

Tue, 26 Dec 2023 23:38:00 -0600 Mark Sweney en text/html
Group O Receives ISTA Transport Testing Lab Certification

(MENAFN- EIN Presswire) The best time to begin ISTA packaging testing is during new product development.” - Randal Goff, Group O VP of Engineering & TechnologyMILAN, IL, UNITED STATES, January 3, 2024 /EINPresswire / -- Group O, a leading provider of packaging solutions , announced its certification as a Transport Testing Laboratory by the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA).

“Becoming an ISTA-certified testing lab underscores Group O's commitment to delivering packaging solutions that exceed industry benchmarks and prioritizes the safety and integrity of products during transit,” said Group O CEO, Kevin Kotecki.

Group O's certified team conducts pre-shipment tests on packaged products, strictly adhering to ISTA® Test Projects and Procedures. Tests include compression, incline impact, drop, climate, and vibration testing. They evaluate the results, provide a comprehensive analysis, and complete and
submit Certified Laboratory Test Report forms.

By subjecting packaging materials to rigorous testing, businesses can ensure its resilience against the challenges posed during transportation. In the absence of thorough testing, vulnerabilities in packaging can go unnoticed, significantly elevating the risk of damages to products during shipment.

“The best time to begin ISTA packaging testing is during new product development,” said Randal Goff, Group O VP of Engineering & Technology.“By assessing the strength and reliability of shipping cartons early in the process, we can help businesses proactively mitigate risks and uphold the highest quality standards. It's not just about packaging; it's about ensuring the trust and satisfaction of customers."

This certification covers a comprehensive range of protocols, including 1A, 1C, 1G, 2A, 2C, 3A, 3B, 3F, 3L-Small, 3L-A, 3L-D, 3L-G, 3L-H, 6-AMAZON Boxing, 6-AMAZON Type A, 6-AMAZON Type B, 6-AMAZON Type D, 6-AMAZON Type G, 6-AMAZON Type H, 6-FedEx-A, 6-SAMSCLUB, 7D.

To learn more visit the ISTA Packaging Performance Testing page on our website .

Sarah Reemtsma
Group O
+1 309-736-8222
email us here
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MENAFN provides the information “as is” without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.

Wed, 03 Jan 2024 14:59:00 -0600 Date text/html
The Best Movies on Amazon Prime Video Right Now

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As Netflix pours more of its resources into original content, Amazon Prime Video is picking up the slack, adding new movies for its subscribers each month. Its catalog has grown so impressive, in fact, that it’s a bit overwhelming — and at the same time, movies that are included with a Prime subscription regularly change status, becoming available only for rental or purchase. It’s a lot to sift through, so we’ve plucked out 100 of the absolute best movies included with a Prime subscription right now, to be updated as new information is made available.

Here are our lists of the best TV shows and movies on Netflix, and the best of both on Hulu and Disney+.

The writer and director A.V. Rockwell begins this wrenching character drama in New York City circa 1994, nicely recapturing the look and feel of Gotham indies of that era. But that’s not just window dressing. While ostensibly telling the story of a young woman trying to raise her son after a stint at Rikers Island, Rockwell adroitly incorporates relevant reminders of the city’s history into her characters and their ongoing struggle, reminding us that “quality of life” policing and the dirty business of gentrification are never purely policy issues. Yet it’s more than just a polemic; Teyana Taylor is shattering as the mother in question, Josiah Cross is charismatic and sympathetic as her son as an older teenager, and the revelations of the closing scenes are wrenching and powerful. (If you like atmospheric coming-of-age dramas, try “Eve’s Bayou.”)

The French artist Park Ji-Min makes an astonishing film debut in the leading role of this “startling and uneasy wonder” from the writer and director Davy Chou. She stars as Freddie, born in South Korea but adopted and raised in Paris, who (cue the title) returns to Seoul for reasons unclear. She claims she has no interest in tracking down her birth parents but does so anyway, setting into motion a chain of events that significantly change who she is and what she wants. Chou’s direction is blissfully confident — even when you’re not sure where he’s going, his command of mood and tone carry the picture through — and Park is a real find, an actor who is able to convey seemingly contradictory emotions simultaneously. (Admirers of this one may also enjoy the similarly emotional and thought-provoking “One Fine Morning.”)

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Jordan Peele followed up the massive critical and commercial success of “Get Out,” his Oscar-winning feature debut from 2017, with this similarly potent brew of horror, social commentary and bleak comedy. Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke star as upper-class parents whose family vacation is disrupted by the appearance of silent but terrifying visitors. Are they home invaders? Common criminals? Supernatural doppelgängers? Or something even more sinister? As with “Get Out” before it and “Nope” (also on Prime) after, Peele has as much fun building dread and atmosphere as he does delivering shock thrills, slyly threading in pop-culture shout-outs and obscure historical references to keep audiences equally puzzled and frightened. (For more spooky stuff, try “The Lighthouse” or “Bird With the Crystal Plumage.”)

This classic Western from the director Fred Zinnemann is best remembered for its innovative construction, in which a small-town marshal’s looming standoff with a revenge-seeking outlaw is dramatized in real time. The film was widely read as an allegory for the film industry blacklists of the era — the screenwriter Carl Foreman was deemed an “uncooperative witness” by the House Un-American Activities Committee. But “High Noon” also cleared an important path for the future of the Western, replacing the usual genre high jinks with thoughtful explorations of masculinity and violence; our critic called it “a rare and exciting achievement.” (If you like Westerns, try “Stagecoach,” “Breakheart Pass” or “One-Eyed Jacks.”)

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One of the greatest of all “gritty Gotham” movies — our critic called it “a movie that really catches the mood of New York and New Yorkers” — this darkly funny, white-knuckle thriller from the director Joseph Sargent concerns four armed men who take a subway car hostage, demanding a million-dollar ransom for the lives of the passengers. Robert Shaw is coolly ruthless as the leader of the gang while Walter Matthau is at his hangdog best as the cynical transit cop hot on their trail. (Matthau’s Oscar-winning turn in “The Fortune Cookie” is also on Prime.)

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Maggie Betts’s adaptation of Jonathan Harr’s 1999 New Yorker article feels like a throwback to the John Grisham thrillers of the era, and that’s intended as high praise; we just don’t get many of these mid-budget, middlebrow, crowd-pleasing courtroom dramas anymore. The sharp script tells the true story of a flashy personal injury lawyer (Jamie Foxx) who argues the hard-to-win case of the owner of a funeral home (Tommy Lee Jones) who is taking on a giant corporation for breaking an oral agreement. The tropes of the courtroom drama are well-deployed, yet thornily augmented by the sticky racial dynamics of its Deep South setting. Foxx dazzles — he always excels in this kind of showboat role — and Jones’s quiet dignity is an effective counterpoint. (For more courtroom drama, try “And Justice for All.”)

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Filmmakers never seem to tire of adapting Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility,” “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma,” but they seem comparatively uninterested in her 1814 coming-of-age story, “Mansfield Park.” That’s one of the many reasons to check out this “smart, politically pointed screen adaptation” from the screenwriter and director Patricia Rozema, who remains faithful to the spirit of Austen’s novel while indulging in a handful of fascinating modifications. Frances O’Connor is dazzling in the leading role, and Jonny Lee Miller, Alessandro Nivola, Embeth Davidtz, James Purefoy, Hugh Bonneville and the playwright Harold Pinter lend able support. (Admirers should also check out the similarly spiky “Lady Macbeth” or the breezily enjoyable “Much Ado About Nothing.”)

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Early in the new documentary by Raoul Peck (“I Am Not Your Negro”), Gertrude Reels remembers her father’s deathbed wish: “Whatever you do, don’t let the white man have my land.” That land, a 65-acre spread (including acres of invaluable waterfront property) in Carteret County, North Carolina, has been at the center of a long, complex legal battle for decades. Not all gentrification happens in the cities, and Peck’s keenly observed “intimate portrait” follows this family through years of injustice and wrangling, capturing (and sharing) their indignation.

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Cate Blanchett is Lydia Tár, an acclaimed orchestral conductor, composer and instructor whose precariously balanced life and career begin to collapse around her in this “cruelly elegant, elegantly cruel” character study from the writer and director Todd Field (“In the Bedroom”). Blanchett was nominated for best actress at last year’s Oscars for her electrifying turn as a woman whose genius has long excused her considerable flaws; Nina Hoss is terrific as the longtime partner who can no longer look the other way. Field directs the story of Lydia’s fall from grace with chilly, riveting precision and welcome psychological nuance. (For more Oscar-nominated acting, try “The Dresser.”)

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Before he became the director of important, issues-minded films like “Vice” and “Don’t Look Up,” Adam McKay trafficked in pure, unapologetic silliness. And that silliness reached its apex with this explosively funny, frequently filthy comedy, re-teaming his “Talladega Nights” stars Will Ferrell (who co-wrote, with McKay) and John C. Reilly as adult man-children who still live with their parents (Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins) and are forced into a sibling relationship when their parents wed. What begins as suspicion and rivalry develops into absolute mayhem, with Ferrell and McKay at their most manic and Steenburgen and Jenkins finding endless variations on parental patience and embarrassment.

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The writer and director Sarah Polley, adapting the novel by Miriam Toews, tells the haunting tale of an insular religious community ripped apart by the actions of its predatory men. Those crimes are seen briefly, in flashback; the primary focus of Polley’s film is a long, difficult debate between several of the women in the community about what will happen next. Assembling a cast of first-rate actors (including Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy, Judith Ivey, Rooney Mara, Frances McDormand and Ben Whishaw), Polley turns what could have been a polemic into an urgent, thoughtful morality play.

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Humphrey Bogart won his only Oscar for his role as the gin-soaked roughneck at the helm of the titular vessel; this was also his only on-screen pairing with his fellow icon Katharine Hepburn. Most of what happens is predictable, from the outcome of the dangerous mission to the eventual attraction of the opposites at the story’s center, but the actors and John Huston’s direction keep the viewer engaged and entertained. Our critic praised the picture’s “rollicking fun and gentle humor.” (Fans of classic cinema will also enjoy “The Best Years of Our Lives” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”)

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You couldn’t throw a stone in a multiplex in the 1990s without hitting a big-screen adaptation of a boomer-era TV series, but Tom Cruise’s take on the ’60s spy show ended up with a bigger cultural footprint than its inspiration. The bigger-is-better ethos of the franchise resulted in movies that felt like movies, not just overblown TV episodes. That’s very much the case in this first installment, with the baroque genre stylist Brian De Palma imposing his trademark trick photography, Dutch angles and sure hand for suspenseful set pieces. (The fourth film in the series, “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” is also on Prime, as is the smash sequel “Top Gun: Maverick.”)

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The life that the “Wonder Woman” creator William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans) shared with two women — his wife (Rebecca Hall) and their lover (Bella Heathcote) — and their experimentation with polyamory and bondage helped inspire the popular comic book character, as well as some of her more controversial early imagery. Angela Robinson, the movie’s writer and director, draws clear parallels from their lives to the character’s, drawing frames from the comic book with the precision and wit of a good documentary and providing welcome context for the recent resurgence in her popularity. But “Wonder Women” is most remarkable for the nuance it gives to its central relationship, treating what could have been a giggly sexcapade with genuine complexity and sensitivity. In the end, this “sly and thoroughly charming Trojan horse of a movie” is not just another biopic; this is a lovely story about not only finding love, but understanding and accepting it, on its own terms.

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This thrillingly unpredictable rom-com/crime movie mash-up from the director Jonathan Demme (“The Silence of the Lambs”) begins as a boy-meets-girl movie with a slightly psychosexual edge, seeming to tell the story of how a wild girl (Melanie Griffith) and a straight guy (Jeff Daniels) meet in the middle. Then Ray (a sensational Ray Liotta) turns up and hijacks the entire movie, turning it into something much darker and more dangerous. Throughout, Demme keeps the focus on his colorful characters and sharp dialogue. (“Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and “The Lost City” are somewhat more conventional but nevertheless entertaining action-comedy-romances.)

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One of the most hard-edge and thought-provoking pictures of the so-called Blaxploitation cycle, this New York action drama pairs Anthony Quinn and Yaphet Kotto as detectives investigating the blood-spilling robbery of a mob-controlled numbers bank in Harlem. The case is a dangerous intersection of organized crime interests, a conflict exacerbated by the contrasts between these two cops — Black and white, young and old, idealistic and corrupt — resulting in an explosive and decidedly un-Hollywood conclusion. (For more ’70s action, check out “Foxy Brown” and “Coffy.”)

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The gifted genre director Ti West writes and directs this giddy, gory cross between “Boogie Nights” and “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” in which a group of D.I.Y. filmmakers and exotic dancers trek out to the backwoods of the Lone Star State to make a low-budget porn movie. Little do they know that the older couple in the nearby farmhouse are a bit more spry — and murderous — than they might imagine. West’s script and direction are marvelously film-literate, filling the frame and soundtrack with sly in-jokes and references, and his cast is delightfully game; the “Wednesday” star Jenna Ortega is a sublime scream queen, Brittany Snow revels in the opportunity to send up her typical persona and Mia Goth is pitch-perfect as both the final girl and (under heavy makeup) another key player.

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Winner of the Oscar for best picture (and for best director for Kathryn Bigelow), this harrowing war drama concerns a team of specialists trained in on-the-ground bomb diffusion in Iraq — with a particular focus on Staff Sgt. William James (Jeremy Renner), who’s a bit of a loose cannon. Bigelow mines palpable, sweaty tension from this terrifying work, but she doesn’t settle for cheap thrills; the film is most intense when dealing with James’s internal conflicts and his psychological battles with his team. our critic called it “a viscerally exciting, adrenaline-soaked tour de force.” (Other best picture winners on Prime include “In the Heat of the Night” and “Forrest Gump.”)

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The chef Jiro Ono’s 10-seat sushi-only Tokyo eatery is recognized worldwide and is less a restaurant than a temple. According to those who know and work with him, it’s an extension of his personality; he’s meticulous, detail-oriented, doggedly dedicated to his craft. But has that perfectionism made him (or the people around him) happy? David Gelb’s mouthwatering documentary poses that question and further explores the chef’s philosophies of life and work, while also painstakingly capturing the careful preparation of Ono’s culinary gifts and lovingly lingering on the results.

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Denzel Washington is terrific — smolderingly sexy, offhandedly funny, endlessly engaging — as Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, a ’40s-era private detective, in this beautifully crafted adaptation of Walter Mosley’s novel, from the director Carl Franklin (“One False Move”). Yet even with that great performance at its center, Don Cheadle steals the show as “Mouse,” Rawlins’s troublemaking best friend; this was Cheadle’s breakthrough role, and he makes every scene crackle with energy and unpredictability. “Devil” was based on the first of 14 Rawlins novels (to date), and in a just world, we’d have seen Washington play him 13 more times. But at least we got this one. (For more period drama, stream “Cinderella Man” or “First Cow.”)

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Kentucker Audley and Albert Birney wrote, directed and edited this “soulful sci-fi oddity” — a true indie with a look, sound and feel all its own. Audley is also the deadpan leading man, a government auditor in a not too distant future, where citizens are taxed for the extravagancies of their dreams. It’s a digital process, so he meets a considerable challenge in the form of the batty Bella (Penny Fuller), whose dreams are still analog, leaving him with thousands of videotapes to watch and log. And that’s when things start getting really weird. Audley and Birney’s wild screenplay adroitly captures the touch-and-go intricacies of dream logic, the special effects are impressively D.I.Y. and the humor is deliriously cockeyed throughout.

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George Miller followed up his surprise smash “Mad Max,” a brutal thriller set in a world on the edge of collapse, with this postapocalyptic road movie, making a star of Mel Gibson and redefining action cinema. His white-knuckle, high-octane filmmaking remains virtuosic, and the world-building of the efficient screenplay proved remarkably effective (two more sequels followed); our critic deemed it “an extravagant film fantasy that looks like a sadomasochistic comic book come to life.” (For more blistering ’80s action, try “Conan the Barbarian.”)

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The writer and director Andrew Bujalski (“Funny Ha Ha,” “Computer Chess”) creates what looks, on its shiny surface, like a sunny workplace comedy along the lines of “Working …” or the Chotchkie’s scenes in “Office Space.” But he’s up to something much slyer, a smart examination of class and gender politics in one of their most pointed playgrounds: a Hooters-style sports bar and grill, where customers leer at scantily clad waitresses while the manager, Lisa (Regina Hall), tries to keep temperatures cool (and maintain her own sanity). It’s a “stealth charmer,” with a richly textured anchoring performance by Hall and a sparkling supporting turn by Haley Lu Richardson, a “White Lotus” favorite.

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The first film adaptation of the beloved 1981 children’s book, this family adventure stars Robin Williams as a child trapped for decades in a board game, Bonnie Hunt as a friend who barely made it out and Kirsten Dunst and Bradley Pierce as the contemporary children who help him escape — and must then finish the game. Joe Johnston (“Captain America: The First Avenger”) directs with the proper mixture of childlike enthusiasm and wide-eyed terror, and the special effects (of wild animals and swarms of insects descending on suburban enclaves) remain startlingly convincing.

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Barry Jenkins followed up the triumph of his Oscar-winning “Moonlight” with this “anguished and mournful” adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel. It is, first and foremost, a love story, and the warmth and electricity Jenkins captures and conveys between stars KiKi Layne and Stephan James is overwhelming. But it’s also a love story between two Black Americans in 1960s Harlem, and the delicacy with which the filmmaker threads in the troubles of that time, and the injustice that ultimately tears his main characters apart, is heart-wrenching. Masterly performances abound — particularly from Regina King, who won an Oscar for her complex, layered portrayal of a mother on a mission. (Fans of character-driven indie fare should also check out “A Family Thing” and “Frank.”)

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“The exotico has lost, like always,” shrugs the announcer of the low-rent wrestling match, which doesn’t really bother Saúl (Gael García Bernal) all that much — he’s “the runt,” and he’s got problems of his own. One of the pleasures of Roger Ross Williams’s comedy-drama, which is loosely based on a true story, is how steeped it is in the lore of the lucha libre, the traditions and characters and lingo that give this world its juice. Saúl, a cheerfully, unapologetically gay wrestler, devises a flamboyantly theatrical new character: an exotico, yes, “but he wins.” (Roberta Colindrez plays his trainer.) Williams deftly dramatizes how this persona, and his success with it, changes everything, and while he follows the standard sports-underdog playbook, the picture’s overwhelming exuberance and kindness set it apart. (Sports film fans will also enjoy “Air.”)

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This Sundance sensation is a heart-wrenching story of grief, pain, regret and struggle. The director and co-writer Jordana Spiro tells the story of Angel (Dominique Fishback), released from jail on the eve of her 18th birthday and torn between getting her life together and finishing the crime that put her there. Spiro adopts a no-nonsense approach, digging into the probationary process and the various ways in which the deck is already stacked against her protagonist. In an unforgettable performance, Fishback eschews showy moments for a lived-in authenticity.

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In investigating the death of a trainer at SeaWorld, the director Gabriela Cowperthwaite traces the sordid history of the capture of killer whales and their training to perform for audiences, creating a masterly juxtaposition of SeaWorld’s own commercials and promo videos with grisly tales of accidents, attacks and public relations spin. Paced like a thriller and written like a deft courtroom summation, it is intelligent, methodical and harrowing; our critic called it a “delicately lacerating documentary.” (Documentary fans should also seek out the scorching “The Tillman Story.”)

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A decade after winning the Oscar for her adaptation of “Sense and Sensibility,” Emma Thompson returned to the typewriter to pen the film version of a slightly less venerated literary property: the “Nurse Matilda” children’s novels, by the British author Christianna Brand. But it doesn’t feel like slumming; Thompson invests her screenplay with all the winking wit you would expect, and she absolutely goes for broke in her performance of the title role, a kind of warts-and-all Mary Poppins. The director Kirk Jones orchestrates the chaos with a sure hand; our critic praised its “twisted visual imagination.” (For more of Thompson, stream Dead Again” and Much Ado About Nothing.”)

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Robert De Niro won his second Academy Award for his fiercely physical and psychologically punishing performance in this searing adaptation of the autobiography of the middleweight champion Jake LaMotta. The stylish boxing sequences are visceral and overwhelming, shot and cut to approximate the disorientation and violence of the sport. But the most disturbing sequences are those of LaMotta in his home, terrorizing his wife (Cathy Moriarty, in an electrifying debut) and terrifying his brother and manager, Joey (Joe Pesci, also remarkable). It’s a relentlessly downbeat piece of work, but the force of De Niro’s performance and the energy of Martin Scorsese’s direction are hard to overstate, or to forget. At the time, our critic called it Scorsese’s “most ambitious film as well as his finest.”

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A coming-of-age story with a healthy dose of ’80s nostalgia, this breezy comedic drama deftly evokes its time and place while even more sharply conveying the timeless feelings of youthful aimlessness and romantic longing. Jesse Eisenberg is in top form as James, the young would-be intellectual who comes to value the job he thinks he’s too good for; Kristen Stewart is warm and wonderful as the young woman he falls for. They generate palpable chemistry (this was the first of their three onscreen pairings to date), while the supporting cast of comic M.V.P.s provides reliable laughs. (François Ozon’s “Summer of 85” is something of a French riff on similar themes.)

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The “Girls” creator and star Lena Dunham is about the last person you’d imagine to direct a film adaptation of a children’s book set in 13th-century England. (Perhaps that’s why she did it.) What she accomplishes is a minor miracle: a delightful film that inserts a modern comic sensibility into the past, without resorting to anachronism or satire. She gets a big assist from the star (and “Game of Thrones” alum) Bella Ramsey, who brings the title character to vivid, playful life, involving us in her tribulations and frustrations, as her oft-drunken father (Andrew Scott, the “hot priest” of “Fleabag”) desperately attempts to marry her off. Our critic called it a “winning,” “headstrong comedy.” (For more female-fronted comedy, check out “Earth Girls Are Easy” or “10 Things I Hate About You.”)

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Mildred and Richard Loving never saw themselves as heroes: As far as the Virginia couple were concerned, they were merely two regular people who wanted to spend their lives together. So the writer-director Jeff Nichols (“Mud”) makes “Loving” a personal tale, trusting that the politics will be apparent. The Australian actor Joel Edgerton and the Ethiopian-Irish actress Ruth Negga are wholly convincing as these rural Southerners, creating a relationship so unstaged and lived-in that the emotional stakes are as important as the historical ramifications. Manohla Dargis raved, “There are few movies that speak to the American moment as movingly — and with as much idealism.” (If you like historical dramas, try “Amistad.”)

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This Sundance sensation from the writer and director Craig Zobel tells a story so unbelievable, it had to be true: A man calls a fast-food restaurant, claiming to be a police officer, and instructs the manager to interrogate an employee on suspicion of theft. With the caller’s explicit instructions, the manager proceeds to humiliate and assault the young woman because that’s what a (supposed) person of authority said to do. Zobel crafts his film as both a morality play and a steadily tightening noose, its escalating discomfort complemented by the credible performances of Ann Dowd as the manager, Dreama Walker as the victim and Pat Healy as the caller. (Zobel’s follow-up, “Z for Zachariah,” is also on Prime.)

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The superhero movie as we know it began here, a Man of Steel origin story breathlessly advertised with the legendary tagline, “You’ll believe a man can fly.” And indeed we did, so convincing were the visual effects that gave Superman his powers. But what made “Superman” so great was the director Richard Donner’s attention to the human details, from the earnestness of the hero’s small-town Kansas youth to the sweetness of the Clark Kent/Lois Lane/Superman love triangle to the wily characterization of Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor. But the key to it all is Christopher Reeve, who creates a compelling two-part characterization as Superman and his alter ego, and turns this potentially corny figure into one of the great screen heroes. Our critic called it “good, clean, simple-minded fun.” (The wonderful “Superman II” is also on Prime.)

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The classic gangster movie gets a snazzy musical makeover in this bouncy film adaptation of the Broadway hit, itself based on the colorful New York characters of Damon Runyon’s fiction. Joseph L. Mankiewicz (“All About Eve”) directs with energy and pizazz, coaxing cheerful, engaged performances out of Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons, Vivian Blaine and that most unlikely of crooners, Marlon Brando. Our critic called it “as tinny and tawny and terrific as any hot-cha musical film you’ll ever see.” (For more classic musical fun, stream “The Wiz,” “South Pacific” or “Oklahoma!”)

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We’re in a period of intensely personal documentaries — “Dick Johnson Is Dead,” “Circus of Books” and “Time” leap to mind — but few are as brutally, piercingly intimate as this debut feature from Sasha Joseph Neulinger. Drawing primarily from a vast archive of home videos from his childhood, Neulinger investigates his family’s cycle of sexual abuse like an outsider, reporting the story from that archive as well as interviews with family members and observers. But his proximity to the story is what ultimately renders “Rewind” so powerful, and the results seem as much an act of therapy and catharsis as nonfiction filmmaking.

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Clint Eastwood began as a star of a television western, made the transition to film with spaghetti westerns and starred in (and often directed) some of the most memorable westerns of the 1970s and ’80s. His farewell to the genre had to be special — and it was. This best picture Oscar winner is both an elegy to the form and a reckoning with it, as its characters (and its makers) wrestle with the implications of killing and dying. Eastwood’s brutal but lyrical direction nabbed him an Oscar for best director, while Gene Hackman picked up a best supporting actor statuette for his unforgettable turn as the casually sadistic villain, the standout in a cast that also includes Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris and Eastwood. (For more Western action, try “Breakheart Pass”; for more of Hackman in villain mode, stream “No Way Out.”)

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This heist thriller from the director Frank Oz is full of stock characters: the career criminal looking for one last big score; the cocky young hothead who wants to partner up; and the old-timer who puts it together. But when those characters are brought to life by Robert De Niro, Edward Norton and Marlon Brando, you’re willing to cut the movie some slack. The sheer joy of watching three generations of Method actors thrust and parry overpowers the archetypes’ familiarity, and the heist itself is taut, suspenseful and pleasantly twisty. (If you love heist movies, try one of the originals: Stanley Kubrick’s “The Killing.”)

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This vibrant and playful exploration of the life of Emily Dickinson comes from the fertile mind of the great British writer and director Terence Davies (“The Deep Blue Sea”), who so frequently and masterfully unearths raw desires and emotional truths. This time, he has the good fortune of partnering up with Cynthia Nixon; she adroitly dramatizes Dickinson’s journey, emphasizing the humor and happiness of her earlier years and how that joy gradually dissipated. (Her cheerful interactions with her sister, played with warmth by Jennifer Ehle, place the role closer to her “Sex and the City” breakthrough than you might expect.) This is filmmaking that is searing, smart and often sublime.

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John Cleese writes and stars in this uproariously funny satire of ugly Americans, British politeness and caper movies. Jamie Lee Curtis is Wanda, the femme fatale of a criminal crew who sets her sights on Cleese’s uptight barrister; Kevin Kline is her partner, who is very jealous and very stupid (but don’t call him that); Cleese’s fellow Monty Python alum Michael Palin is a criminal of a much meeker sort. The director Charles Crichton, who helmed many of England’s classic Ealing Studios comedies, orchestrates the insanity with verve. (For more wild comedy, stream “Bubba Ho-Tep.”)

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Dee Rees made her feature directorial debut with this heartfelt and thoughtful story about a Brooklyn teenager (the “incandescentAdepero Oduye) named Alike (pronounced ah-LEE-kay) and her delicate attempt to come out as a lesbian — fully aware of the resistance she will face from her controlling mother (Kim Wayans). Rees, who also penned the screenplay, tells this semi-autobiographical tale like a richly detailed short story, well-versed in the lives these characters live, the neighborhoods they inhabit and the lies they tell each other in order to coexist. But she also captures the seductiveness of the subcultures Alike begins to explore and the alternative they present: the choice to live one’s truth, with no apologies.

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Robert Altman adapted Raymond Chandler’s late-period Philip Marlowe novel as only he could: idiosyncratically, by updating the hard-boiled story’s setting to the feel-good California of the 1970s and casting one of the era’s most of-his-time actors, Elliott Gould, in the role made famous by Humphrey Bogart. Purists resisted, and some critics scratched their heads. But Gould is brilliant, Altman’s direction is brash and confident, and this “tough, funny, hugely entertaining movie” homes in on the character’s essential, outsider nature, while ingeniously rethinking the conventions of the genre. (Mystery fans will also love “No Way Out.”)

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Christopher Nolan made his first big splash with this, his second feature film, a stylish film noir riff that tells its familiar story in an exuberantly inventive way: In order to mirror the disorientation of its protagonist, Leonard (Guy Pearce), who has lost his ability to create new memories, Nolan tells the story by ordering its scenes in reverse chronology. As Leonard pursues an investigation of his wife’s murder, revelations fold back on themselves and betrayals become clear to the audience before they’re known to him. Yet even without that narrative flourish, “Memento” would be a scorching piece of work, loaded with sharp performances, moody cinematography and a noir-inspired sense of doom. (Nolan’s “Interstellar” is also on Prime.)

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Ava DuVernay directs this “bold and bracingly self-assured” dramatization of the events surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1965 marches for voting rights in Selma, Ala. DuVernay is telling the story not of a man but of a movement; the picture bursts with the urgency of promises unkept. David Oyelowo is astonishing as King, capturing the unmistakable cadences but also the man — uncertain, jocular, determined. The stellar ensemble cast includes Dylan Baker, Carmen Ejogo, André Holland, Stephan James, Wendell Pierce, Tim Roth, Tessa Thompson, Lorraine Toussaint, Tom Wilkinson and Oprah Winfrey.

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The opening sequence of this South Korean action extravaganza is such a stunner — a breathless, ultraviolent eight-minute one-killer-takes-on-an-army set piece — that you wonder how the director Jung Byung-gil can possibly top it. Improbably, the hyperkinetic climax, a bone-cracking sequence on a speeding city bus, does just that. But “The Villainess” offers more than empty thrills. Though best explained to Western audiences as a gender-flipped “John Wick,” the narrative that plays out between those memorable bookends has a potent emotional core and a complex dual timeline structure, explaining exactly how the ruthless killing machine at the story’s center became who (and what) she is. (For more stylized action, try “The Crow.”)

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Kristen Wiig stars in and co-writes (with her frequent collaborator Annie Mumolo) this comedy smash from the director Paul Feig. Wiig is Annie, an aimless baker who is asked to serve as the maid of honor for her lifelong pal, Lillian (Maya Rudolph). This duty sets off an uproarious series of broad comic set pieces and thoughtful introspection; both the comedy and drama are played to the hilt by an ensemble that includes Rose Byrne, Jon Hamm, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Chris O’Dowd and an Oscar-nominated Melissa McCarthy. (For more female-fronted comedy, try “Pitch Perfect.”)

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Desiree Akhavan writes, directs and stars in this devastatingly funny, breathtakingly candid and unexpectedly sexy comedy-drama. She’s is a singular comic voice, and since she’s playing a variation on herself (a bisexual Brooklynite filmmaker and daughter of immigrants), the picture boasts an offhand candor and casual approach to ethnicity, class and identity that makes it distinctive even among the indie set. Our critic praised the picture’s “clever and unpredictable turns of phrase.” (For more candid, sexy comedy, try “Afternoon Delight.”)

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The writer and director Paul Thomas Anderson picked up nominations for best director, best original screenplay and best picture for this richly textured, quietly bittersweet and frequently funny story of growing up in the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s. The actor Cooper Hoffman is charismatic and charming as a young would-be entrepreneur; the musician Alana Haim, in a star-making performance of astonishing depth, is the perpetually out-of-reach object of his affections. It’s the kind of movie that sneaks up on you with its warmth and insight. Manohla Dargis called it “a shaggy, fitfully brilliant romp.” (“Armageddon Time” and “C’mon C’mon” are similarly nuanced coming-of-age stories.)

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The director Robert Altman teamed up with his frequent collaborator Elliott Gould, and paired him up with George Segal, for this “fascinating, vivid” snapshot of two lovable losers. Gould and Segal play a pair of Los Angeles gamblers, floating from card table to racetrack to casino, in constant search of that one big score. Such a payday presents itself at the end of their journey, but Altman is too unconventional a filmmaker to put much stock in that destination. He’s more interested in the journey, and his film is propelled by the rowdy hum of those rooms and the colorful personalities of the people who inhabit them. (“Husbands” and “Rancho Deluxe” work a similarly shaggy vibe.)

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Matthew McConaughey’s unexpected comeback from a no-man’s-land of forgettable rom-coms and dumbed-down star vehicles was just getting underway when he took on the title role of this brutal, twisted, brilliant adaptation of the play by the Pulitzer and Tony winner Tracy Letts. As a ruthless murderer for hire plunged into the disarray of a vile, trashy family, McConaughey miraculously twists his movie-star charisma and golden-boy looks into something cold, hard and frightening. The director William Friedkin (“The French Connection,” “The Exorcist”) squeezes the trailer-home setting like a vise, creating creeping dread and pitch-black humor from the bleakest of setups. (If you love crime movies, try “52 Pick-Up” or “Zola.”)

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The director Danny Boyle brought the cult novel by Irvine Welsh to the screen as a visceral experience, chasing the relentlessly energetic narrative like the drug addicts at its center chase a high. Ewan McGregor found a star-making role in the protagonist, Renton, a Scottish miscreant who insists he chooses the dangers of addiction over a life of suburban prescription; Robert Carlyle is the supporting standout as the scariest member of his crew. “It rocks to a throbbing beat,” our critic wrote, “and trains its jaundiced eye on some of the most lovable lowlifes ever to skulk across a screen.”

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Thu, 04 Jan 2024 12:13:00 -0600 en text/html
The Best Christmas Decorations on Amazon in 2023

Whether you're famous for your homemade holiday cookies or just want a festive place to store Santa's chocolate chips, this ceramic jar is a must. Standing nearly a foot tall, it's hand-painted and made from sturdy earthenware, ensuring it'll last decades. Plus, at $45, it's currently nearly half off the list price of $78.

Sun, 15 Oct 2023 03:48:00 -0500 en text/html

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