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Godzilla introduces himself to a new generation of monster hunter (played by Anna Sawai) in "“Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.”
Apple TV+
Godzilla introduces himself to a new generation of monster hunter (played by Anna Sawai) in ““Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.”

Bummed you have to wait till December to witness Godzilla back in action on the big screen?

Does Apple TV+ have the right series for you.

Bummed that the killers have been collared on “Only Murders in the Building” and “The Afterparty?”

Does FX have the killer mystery series for you.

Bummed that there aren’t any enough edgy, adult satires outfitted with a tremendous breakout performance that deserves an Oscar nom? Does Netflix have one shocking story for you – but it’s only in theaters for now.

Here’s our roundup.

“Monarch: Legacy of Monsters”: After a few Hollywood stabs at resurrecting Godzilla and other kaijū, creators Chris Black (“Severance”) and star comic-book author Matt Fraction have come up with the right way to do it. In their exciting 10-episode blockbuster Apple TV+ series (the special effects are of the caliber of a big-budget Hollywood production), the Monsterverse expands and grows ever more intricate — in a good way, mind you, not in that overextended MCU way right now.

In the opening moments, we get brief flashbacks of the Golden Gate Bridge getting trashed in a smackdown between the radioactive lizard king and the Titans. That traumatic event was witnessed through the eyes of teacher Cate Randa (Anna Sawai) whose scientist dad went missing soon after. Cate, in the first episode, travels to Tokyo where she discovers she has a half-brother Kentaro (Ren Watabe) and meets his friends, the extra-smart and tech-savvy May (Kiersey Clemons). Each of them catches the attention of Monarch — a clandestine organization intent on monster surveillance and study that sprung up after World War II.

While that narrative begins, it’s threaded with another that originated decades before — at the inception of Monarch and the essential work of three of its major players – GI Lee Shaw (played Wyatt Russell and Kurt Russell later; Wyatt is Kurt’s son), scientist Keiko (Mari Yamamoto) and cryptozoologist Bill Randa (Anders Holm, later played by John Goodman).

That’s a lot of names and narratives to keep track of, but the story lines intertwine nicely, even if you might need a list of the characters to reference. No matter. If you’re a kaijū fan and prefer jigsaw-puzzle-like storytelling, not to mention great action sequences, this one — or at least the eight episodes released for review — crushes it. Details: 3 stars out of 4; two episodes drop Nov. 17 with one dropping each week after that.

“A Murder at the End of the World”: It’s a familiar setup. A rich White entrepreneur (Clive Owens) invites famous movers and shakers to a reclusive retreat. One person winds up a corpse … . You get the picture.

Fans of Agatha Christie and Rian Johnson are well-versed in this old but reliable scenario. So are creators/directors/writers Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, who previously fired up our brain cells with the trippy “The OA” on Netflix. But they’re just not setting the table with the same tarnished cutlery. The savvy duo tweak the premise to satisfying ends, contemporizing an old trope by focusing on advancements in the tech world and replacing Miss Marple and Benoit Blanc with a tattooed amateur sleuth/hacker who likes to play around with her hair coloring. That tinkering with the formula plays a part in an  ingenious mystery.

Owen makes an ideal chill-to-the-bone Andy Ronson, a self-made billionaire who adores AI. Understandably concerned about climate change and how it will affect his son’s generation, he and his wife Lee (Marling), a former hacker who went underground after being doxed, seek input from the most brilliant minds to perhaps hash out solutions at that Iceland retreat.

One guest who remains uncertain as to why she’s included on the roster at this techy hotel in nowheresville is bestselling author, hacker and amateur crime-solver Darby Hart (Emma Corrin, fully clicking in the role and channeling “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” edge and energy).

She and another guest Bill Farrah (Harris Dickinson, showing again why he is one of our best new talents) share quite a telling past that includes nabbing a serial killer. Other attendees — aka suspects — are given eyebrow-raising back histories (astronaut, filmmaker and so on) that make them suspicious. They’re played by pros that include Joan Chen, Alice Braga and Jermaine Fowler.

All these fresh elements brought to the table shine brightly next to the genre’s old-school cutlery, resulting in an absorbing, eerie brain twister that delivers a shocking denouement. (I’m sworn to secrecy). For mystery lovers, it doesn’t get much better than this. Details: 3½ stars; two episodes drop Nov. 17, followed by one new episode every Friday till Dec. 19.

“May December”: Director Todd Haynes comes up with one of his best features in years with this cynical, smart and bloody takedown of true-crime stories — both the people who tell them and the people who can’t get enough of them. Natalie Portman stars as a scruples-impaired Method actor intent on burrowing into the psyche of a tabloid sensation (Julianne Moore) who made headlines when she was married and worked at a pet shop and had an affair with a 7th-grade boy. Twenty years later, the “boy” is a 36-year-old father Joe (Charles Melton of CW’s “Riverdale”) and the couple has two kids in high school. Gracie (Moore) isn’t entirely happy to have Elizabeth (Portman) snooping around in her past and mirroring her every move and gesture — in the name of art, of course. Haynes keeps us off balance throughout, setting us up for a thriller, a black comedy and a satire — benefitting from screenwriter Sammy Burch’s magnetic and, yes, cynical script. Moore and particularly Portman (who delivers a perfect and chilling monologue near the end) are terrific, but it is Melton’s complex performance as emotionally stunted Joe that makes you wince and wonder what life could have been like for him if he had ventured down this path. It’s a physical and emotional performance that surprises you and holds so much ache. It’s well deserving of an Oscar. Details: 3½ stars; in theaters Nov. 17; streams Dec. 1 on Netflix.

“Next Goal Wins”: What foils this feel-good sports dramedy from slamming it into the net is its own creator, Taika Waititi (“Jojo Rabbit,” “Thor: Love and Thunder”). If only he would have decided to ditch his problematic narration at the start and taken himself entirely out of the cast (his role is minor, but annoying), this sitcom-like telling of how the American Samoa soccer team redeemed itself could have been far more effective. As is, “Next Goal Wins” is a tonal mess that’s sometimes entertaining. It focuses much of its attention on how a disgraced hot-tempered coach (Michael Fassbender) contends with his demons while trying to help a Bad News Bear-like team get into some semblance of shape. While there’s a certain charm about playing it loose here, and the film does have some fine moments — most involving a player who is transgender — it’s not enough. Waititi needs to reign in the goofiness, be less erratic and just let the story work its magic. Details: 2 stars; in theaters Nov. 17.

“Journey to Bethlehem”: It’s a tricky undertaking to turn the Greatest Story Ever Told into a musical. Get too irreverent about the biblical story of Mary, Joseph and the birth of Jesus Christ, and expect to get some hate mail. Get too reverential, and you run the risk of boring or alienating some viewers. So let’s give Swedish director Adam Anders some credit for finding a middle ground with this peppy musical version with some catchy tunes, an appealing cast (starting with Fiona Palomo as Mary and Milo Manheim as Joseph) and some scene-stealing from Antonio Banderas as boo-hiss King Herod and Joel Smallbone as his hunky son Antipater and you have a snappy, satisfying seasonal-appropriate gem, complete with wisecracking Three Wise Men. Details: 3 stars; in theaters now.

Contact Randy Myers at