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TV and Movies

Best streaming movies of 2018: The lazy moviegoer's guide

Those trailers looked so enticing, but if you never made it out to the cineplex, here’s your home list.

It's the end of the year, and if you're like me, you watched an awful lot of movie trailers during 2018 and told yourself you'd go out and watch those films in theaters, as they were meant to be seen. 

But ha ha ha: Life and kids and jobs and a broken furnace (fixed!) and a broken oven (not yet fixed -- when did ovens get so expensive?) have a way of intruding on my goal of just sinking into a recliner at one of those fancy theaters and tuning out all of my problems.

Now, sitting on the couch, with a movie running in the background on the TV or a laptop screen, that much I can do. But sometimes, remembering those missed flicks and finding out where they're streaming can be as big a pain as picking a popcorn kernel out of your molars.

So here you go, an end-of-the-year guide to setting up your own home cinema schedule for 23 of the biggest titles of the year just past. Not everything here is Oscar quality, but because you're at home, and you want to watch a giant prehistoric shark eat people, no one needs to know. Happy watching!

Annihilation

I read the book, and I'm still not sure how the filmmakers managed to pull this one off onscreen. From our CNET review: "Alex Garland's follow-up to 2015's Ex-Machina lingers with you long after you see Natalie Portman shoot giant mutated creatures."
How to watch: Rent or buy on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ant-Man may not be your favorite superhero, but he plays a prominent role in the Avengers: Endgame trailer. Plus, our review says, "Ant-Man and The Wasp takes the stakes and scale of a typically colossal Marvel film and shrinks them down to the most intimate level, focusing on families in this love letter to father-daughter relationships."
How to watch: Rent or buy on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube

Now playing: Watch this: The best and worst things about Ant-Man and the Wasp
3:36

Avengers: Infinity War

Even if you've seen this, see it again at home to prep for Avengers: Endgame coming in spring. From our review: "Despite an ending that left me fuming at the screen, and a breakneck pace that shortchanges many characters, it's still the best Avengers movie yet."
How to watch: Stream on Netflix; rent on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube

Now playing: Watch this: Watch the 'Avengers: Infinity War' official trailer
2:17

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

On the con side: I'm not a huge fan of westerns. On the pro side: The Coen brothers. From CNET's review: "This movie doesn't just draw inspiration from the pages of old books. It's a goldarned love letter to the western genre." Well, head 'em up, move 'em on, then.
How to watch: Stream on Netflix

Bird Box

Not sure anyone saw this in theaters, though it supposedly played in a few, but it was mostly a Netflix baby, and worth watching. It's like A Quiet Place, only you have to stop looking as opposed to stop talking. At least see it so you can understand all the blindfold memes.
How to watch: Stream on Netflix

BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee's latest, about a black police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in 1970s Colorado. It made former president Barack Obama's list of his favorite films of the year.
How to watch: Rent or buy on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube

Black Panther

Go back to Wakanda while we wait for the eventual sequel to this blockbuster hit. (You can also watch some deleted scenes, and see King T'Challa crack up Black Jeopardy! on SNL.) From our review: "Black Panther continues Marvel's run of eye-popping and surprisingly emotional superhero spectaculars."
How to watch: Stream on Netflix; rent or buy on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube

Now playing: Watch this: The best (and worst) things about Marvel's 'Black Panther'...
3:06

The Commuter

Liam Neeson plays a train commuter forced into a dangerous game by mysterious stranger Vera Farmiga. But did she know he has a very particular set of skills?
How to watch: Rent or buy on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube

Crazy Rich Asians

It's a rom-com! It's a drama! It's the first American studio movie to star an all-Asian cast in 25 years, and it became an enormous blockbuster. And if like me, you didn't get out to see it, it's now on home video.
How to watch: Rent or buy on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube

The Death of Stalin

Technically this political satire comedy came out in 2017, but since it didn't hit US theaters until 2018, I'm putting it here. Honestly, you had me at "Steve Buscemi as Nikita Khrushchev."
How to watch: Rent or buy on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube

Eighth Grade

In 2017, it was Lady Bird, and in 2018, Eighth Grade looks like the movie that will remind me that I really don't want to go back and be a kid again. I better see this before my daughter starts middle school.
How to watch: Rent or buy on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube

The First Purge

Sometimes you just want to watch what The Washington Post called "an unabashedly violent B-movie throwback, the sort director John Carpenter used to make."
How to watch: Rent or buy on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube

Game Night

A friends' game night turns dark when one of them is kidnapped. Kyle Chandler? Michael C. Hall? Rachel McAdams? Game on!
How to watch: Stream on HBO; rent or buy on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube

Halloween

Michael Myers is back again, and Jamie Lee Curtis is still the scream queen of cinema.
How to watch: Buy on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube (rental coming mid-January)

Hereditary

Really, the good thing about seeing scary movies at home instead of in the theater is that no one notices when you watch certain scenes by peeking through your fingers.
How to watch: Watch on Amazon Prime; rent or buy on Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube

The Meg

I might have been too embarrassed to see a movie about a giant prehistoric shark in the theaters, but on your couch, no one can sneer at your movie tastes.
How to watch: Rent or buy on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube

Minding the Gap

This documentary about three young men bonded by their love of skateboarding is a quieter sell than some of the blockbusters on this list, but it's hard to argue with a film that has a 100 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a "universal acclaim" marker on Metacritic.
How to watch: Stream on Hulu

A Quiet Place

I actually saw this one in the theater, because who can resist a smart horror movie from the mind of John Krasinski? But I'll see it again -- although only in broad daylight.
How to watch: Rent or buy on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube

The Predator

Sometimes I like to watch movies that don't make me think. In the words of my former governor Jesse Ventura, I ain't got time to bleed.
How to watch: Rent or buy on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube.

Roma

Spanish director Alfonso Cuarón's semi-autobiographical take on his own upbringing in Mexico City is earning raves. See it now so you can be in the know when it wins all kinds of film awards.
How to watch: Stream on Netflix

Searching

Searching has a novel trick: It's all viewed through electronics screens. But the story of a dad (John Cho) desperately hunting for his missing teenage daughter goes beyond novelty.
How to watch: Rent or buy on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube

Unsane

Psychological horror films are among my favorites. Add in Claire Foy from The Crown as the star, and make it a film shot entirely on the iPhone 7 Plus and I have both a good and a novelty reason to want to see it.
How to watch: Watch on Amazon Prime; rent or buy on Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube

Venom

Venom has wrapped his way around global box-office records. From our CNET review: "Tom Hardy commits to the toothy, twitchy antics in this twisted caper, but formulaic superheroics poison Venom's demented double act."
How to watch: Rent or buy on Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, VUDU and YouTube

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