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- American actor (1966-2021)
The It List is Yahoo's weekly look at the best in pop culture, including movies, music, TV, streaming, games, books, podcasts and more. Here are our picks for Jan. 10-16, including the best deals we could find for each. (Yahoo Entertainment may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.)
STREAM IT: VICE series Black Market is an enduring testament to the eclectic spirit of Michael K. Williams
The September death of The Wire and Love Country star Michael K. Williams at age 54 was a gut punch to the inimitable, soulful actor’s army of fans. Among the as-of-yet released works Williams left behind (including film and television projects like the Buffalo soldier Western Surrounded and the Dr. Dre-co-starring TV series Vital Signs) was a streaming series touted as his “most personal project to date.” VICE’s docuseries Black Market finds Williams exploring the sometimes dangerous worlds of illicit trade in urbanized America, looking at everything from the distribution of firearms to opioid-based cough syrup. After a 12-episode run in 2016, VICE unveils the second (and presumably) final season of Black Market, which Williams taped before his death, this week. — Kevin Polowy
Black Market With Michael K. Williams Season 2 premieres Monday, Jan. 10 at 10 p.m. on VICE TV.
WATCH IT: Enter an all-new virtual world with the eye-popping animated feature Belle
From 2006’s The Girl Who Leapt Through Time through 2018’s Mirai, Japanese anime auteur Mamoru Hosoda has been responsible for some of the most exciting and innovative animated films of the past two decades. The director’s latest feature, Belle, is a typically imaginative cross between American Idol and Ready Player One. When small town teenager Suzu signs up for the lush virtual world known as the U, her online avatar, Belle, unexpectedly becomes a cyberspace singing sensation. But when one of her concerts is upended by an unexpected cameo appearance from the U’s No. 1 villain, the Dragon, Belle makes like her Disney namesake and embarks on a quest to find this digital Beast, and stumbles upon some disturbing real world drama in the process. Premiering Jan. 14 in theaters, Belle can be seen in either its original Japanese-language version, or an English-language dubbed cut that features the voices of Kylie McNeill, Hunter Schafer, Manny Jacinto and Chace Crawford. This exclusive clip from the film depicts Suzu’s entry into the U and her first glimpses of the virtual wonders that lie within. — Ethan Alter
Belle premieres Friday, Jan. 14 in theaters; visit Fandango for showtime and ticket information.
WATCH IT: Vanessa Kirby loses herself on the streets of Manhattan in the indie drama Italian Studies
Fresh off her Oscar-nominated turn in Pieces of a Woman, Vanessa Kirby headlines writer/director Adam Leon’s Italian Studies as an author who literally loses herself in her work. During an extended visit to New York City, Kirby’s Alina Reynolds goes on a short walk with her dog that ends up lasting for multiple days and nights as her sense of self inexplicably slips away. With little to no memory of her own identity, Alina relies on the kindness of strangers to get by, including Simon (Simon Brickner) an overeager teenager who introduces her to his circle of friends. Behind the camera, Leon adopts a fly-on-the-wall visual approach that captures Kirby’s interactions with real-life New Yorkers who don’t always realize they’re in a movie. This exclusive clip features Alina’s first meeting with Simon in a Manhattan hot dog joint where she doesn’t seem too keen with what’s on the menu. — E.A.
Italian Studies premieres Friday, Jan. 14 in theaters and on most VOD services including Apple TV.
STREAM IT: John Cena raises an R-rated ruckus on The Suicide Squad spinoff Peacemaker
For a guy who calls himself Peacemaker, John Cena’s DC Comics-based alter ego sure causes a lot of trouble. Originally introduced in James Gunn’s summertime blockbuster, The Suicide Squad, the gleefully profane vigilante scores his own R-rated HBO Max streaming series with the fan favorite writer/director behind the camera for most of the eight-episode run. Following his near-death experience on the big screen, Peacemaker is tasked with joining Project Butterfly, a top-secret mission to root out aliens living amongst us that’s staffed by some other familiar Suicide Squad faces, including Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) and John Economos (Steve Agee). In between hilariously over the top action sequences, Peacemaker comes to terms with his troubled past — instigated by his racist father (Robert Patrick) — and maybe even becomes a better person and hero. Be sure to crank up the volume, because the music-savvy Gunn fills the series with some of the all-time great hair metal anthems. — E.A.
Peacemaker premieres Thursday, Jan. 13 on HBO Max.
WATCH IT: I Am Shauna Rae introduces an adult grappling with the side effects of childhood cancer treatment
Meet Shauna Rae, a 22-year-old woman who underwent chemotherapy to treat a rare form of brain cancer when she was just 6 months old. While she did survive the cancer, she's had to cope with the side effects of the chemo for most of her life; Shauna Rae stopped growing once she was the size of the average 8-year-old. Now standing just 3 feet, 10 inches tall, she's attempting to live her life as the adult that she is, but finding challenges everywhere. "Even though I physically can't grow up, I desperately want to be treated like a grownup," she says in the first episode. Viewers see her navigating relationships — "I attract creeps, a**holes and idiots" — as well as life with her friends and her super-protective parents. The latter causes a lot of frustration, especially when she goes out into the world, where she isn't the person that anyone expects. — Raechal Shewfelt
I Am Shauna Rae premieres Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 10 p.m. on TLC.
WATCH IT: Dune stuns on 4K Ultra HD
Not even the maestro David Lynch could crack Dune, and ever since the Mulholland Drive director’s disappointing 1984 adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel the source material has been called “unfilmable.” Enter Denis Villeneuve. From Enemy to Sicario to Arrival, the French-Canadian filmmaker’s movies just keep getting better, though we didn’t think he could possible top the electrifying Blade Runner 2049. Spoiler alert: He has. Dune is an absolute triumph, a tense and gripping visual knockout that, like 2049, sets up about 30 minutes of exposition before accelerating the action’s pace and never letting up until the credits roll. We know it’s on HBO Max, but hopefully you got a chance to see it on the big screen. Your second best bet: It’s arrival this week on 4K Ultra HD, with special features including a whopping 15 featurettes and filmbooks. — K.P.
Dune on 4K Ultra HD is available Tuesday, Jan. 11 on Amazon.
WATCH IT: Ava DuVernay brings a new superhero to The CW's corner of the DC Universe with Naomi
Created just three years ago by the DC Comic brain trust of Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker and Jamal Campbell, the teen hero Naomi McDuffie aka Powerhouse is already making the leap to the small screen. Naomi boasts the involvement of Ava DuVernay, who was supposed to direct a big-screen adaptation of DC's New Gods title until that was canceled. Newcomer Kaci Walfall plays the title role of a Black teenager who goes from hardcore Superman fan to big-time superhero herself. "When I heard her origin story, I said, 'Damn this must be mine,'" DuVernay remarked in a recent press conference about how she got involved with Naomi. "This is really about the steps to becoming powerful and realizing your destiny, and that's something that's very interesting to me. All comics are personal human stories about the journeys that we take, but the best stories are the ones where things are happening that we can all relate to." — E.A.
Naomi premieres Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 9 p.m. on The CW.
WATCH IT: Reframed: Marilyn Monroe tells the icon's story as you've never heard it
CNN uses a clever tagline for its fascinating new docuseries on the much chronicled Marilyn Monroe: "The face you know. The story you don't." The freshness comes from the fact that the screen legend, who's usually considered either a sexpot or a naive victim of the entertainment industry, is remembered here by an all-female editorial team, who see her, first and foremost, as "a complex and powerful woman ahead of her time" who spoke out about the way men treated women in Hollywood long before the #MeToo movement. The four episodes, scheduled to debut two at a time over two consecutive Sundays, feature rare archival footage of Monroe herself, along with the standard interviews from those who knew her and those who've studied her. Actress Jessica Chastain narrates, while additional actresses, including Amber Tamblyn, Mira Sorvino and Ellen Burstyn, explain how Monroe inspired them. — R.S.
Reframed: Marilyn Monroe premieres Sunday, Jan. 16 at 9 p.m. on CNN.
WATCH IT: Juice has the juice (and Tupac Shakur) on 4K Ultra HD
Beyond leaving a legacy behind as one of the greatest rappers of all time when he died at the age of only 25, Tupac Shakur also lead a deeply promising acting career. Not counting his cameo with Digital Underground in 1991’s clunker Nothing But Trouble, it all began with the simmering drama Juice. Pac memorably played the Bishop, the loosest wire among four Harlem teens determined to command power and respect (aka “juice”) on the streets after one of their friends is gunned down in a bar. “Look, I ain't s***. And you less of a man than me,” Bishop famously responds after Q (Omar Epps) tells him he’s crazy. Shakur’s endlessly quotable lines feel like extensions of his legendary hip-hop ethos, reason No. 1 why Juice remains a low-key ‘90s classic. The Ernest Dickerson-directed film gets a 4K Ultra HD upgrade this week with filmmaker commentary, a making-of feature and old school cast interviews. — K.P.
Juice on 4K Ultra HD is available Tuesday, Jan. 11 on Amazon.
STREAM IT: Cheer returns with serious drama — on and off the mat
The second season will be much different from the first of this binge-worthy reality show, which debuted in January 2020, a time that seems like a century ago. For starters, this batch of episodes follows not only the standout team from Texas's Navarro College, but also their stiffest competition, the athletes at Trinity Valley Community College. It also will address the child pornography charges against team member Jerry Harris, who was arrested in September 2020 and has since plead not guilty. For instance, Variety has reported that the two brothers who, in September 2020, brought a lawsuit against Harris, alleging that he sexually exploited and abused them when they were minors, will be interviewed. Fans will see familiar faces, too, such as Lexi Brumback, Gabi Butler, La'Darius Marshall and Morgan Simianer. — R.S.
Cheer premieres Wednesday, Jan. 12 on Netflix.
— Video produced by Anne Lilburn and edited by Jimmie Rhee