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Cooper Hoffman and Alana Haim in a scene from Licorice Pizza.Courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures Inc./MGM via AP

If you don’t want to head to a theatre this weekend, good news: Three of the best films of 2021 are now available digitally for home viewing, just in time to prepare for the Oscars later this month.

Drive My Car: Adapting Haruki Murakami’s short story, director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car is an epic work that captures the philosophical meanderings of Murakami without slipping into faux-poignancy. The Japanese filmmaker – whose other 2021 film, Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, is also now available on-demand – builds a moving story of genuine human drama over the course of a patient and engrossing three hours. (For rent or purchase on Apple TV)

Review: Drive My Car is the best cinematic ride of the year

Licorice Pizza: Ignore the unappetizing title and concentrate on what a delightful cinematic gift Paul Thomas Anderson has given us. It is difficult to know where to start in praising this coming-of-age romantic comedy. Is it the fanatical attention to detail that Anderson employs in recreating 1973 San Fernando? Is it the astounding talent of first-time actor Cooper Hoffman, who channels his father Philip Seymour Hoffman with a sprinkling of a young Edward Norton? Maybe it’s Alana Haim, perfect as the exasperated foil to Hoffman’s smooth operator? Wait, no: It’s the hilarious mania of Bradley Cooper, who pops up as Hollywood hairdresser-turned-producer Jon Peters. It all clicks. Even the title. (For purchase on Apple TV, Cineplex Store, Google Play, YouTube; available for rent starting March 15)

Review: Paul Thomas Anderson’s beautiful, hilarious, complicated Licorice Pizza is the best film of 2021

West Side Story: If anyone doubted Steven Spielberg’s ability to deliver exactly what we desire from big-budget Hollywood, here is a glorious piece of top-tier pop-art. Shot with style, choreographed with grace and cast with a near-perfect eye for incendiary dance-till-you-drop talent, West Side Story is a true movie-lover’s movie: the kind of transformative experience that will have you exit the cinema swooning. (Streaming on Disney+; available for purchase on Apple TV, Google Play)

Review: West Side Story is vivid, sweeping, beautiful filmmaking that shows the power of Hollywood

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