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New on Blu: 'Ghost Rider', 'Harold and Maude' and 'Sherlock Holmes 2'

Ghost Rider Vengeance Blu-Ray Cover - P 2012

"Tyler Perry's Good Deeds" and Ivan Reitman's "Meatballs" are also among the week's high-profile high-definition releases.

After DVD presentation killed VHS as a home viewing format, it seemed like picture quality couldn’t get any better for consumers. But high definition video, in particular Blu-ray, has made a lot of those terrific transfers obsolete. As the studios release and re-release films from their libraries onto Blu-ray, often including old favorites and true classics, we’re rounding up the noteworthy titles and offering a thumbnail view of their bona fides.

Check out a selected list of this week’s new releases:

Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

The Rundown: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor’s schizophrenic sequel made few waves at the box office, and fared as poorly with critics as the original. But at least it was in 3D.

How It Looks: Available in 2- and 3D, the movie looks great, taking full advantage of the directing duo’s visceral aesthetic while maintaining clarity and vividness.

Best Extra: The six-part documentary that examines every part of the production, from conception to release.

Buy, Rent Or Avoid: Rent

 

The Gold Rush (Criterion)

The Rundown: Charlie Chaplin’s comedy not only immortalized his “Little Tramp” character, it became one of the most revered films in the history of cinema.

How It Looks: Prefaced by a disclaimer indicating that many of the original film elements no longer exist, transfers of both the '25 and '42 versions of the film look great, although the edge goes to ’25.

Best Extra: Having both films in high definition would be enough, but three programs chronicling the film’s history, production, and music add extra insights into the film’s technical legacy.

Buy, Rent Or Avoid: Buy

 

Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds (Lionsgate)

The Rundown: Tyler Perry manages to make his version of "Eat Pray Love" with this story about a lawyer who’s discontent with his successful job and beautiful fiancée.

How It Looks: Perry isn’t much of a visual stylist, but the Blu-ray for his latest capably replicates his directorial choices with vivid color and clarity.

Best Extras: Two featurettes, “Two Worlds Collide” and “Motherly Love,” go behind the scenes of the film.

Buy, Rent Or Avoid: Rent

 

Harold and Maude (Criterion)

The Rundown: An unofficial progenitor for Wes Anderson’s entire oevure, Hal Ashby’s ode to unconventional romance is remarkable, intimate and utterly unique comedy.

How It Looks: A new digital restoration makes the film look better than ever, restoring the depth and color quality of Ashby’s images.

Best Extras: A commentary track by Ashby biographer Nick Dawson tops the list of extras, but a close second is the library of audio excerpts from interviews with Ashby himself.

Buy, Rent or Avoid: Buy

 

Meatballs (Lionsgate)

The Rundown: Ivan Reitman’s debut spawned countless bawdy camp comedies, but his remains a remarkably sweet little film, even tethered to an appropriately off-the-wall performance by Bill Murray.

How It Looks: The new HD transfer looks pretty stunning for a movie that hardly seems synonymous with great visual substance.

Best Extra: A commentary track by Reitman offers additional information about the film.

Buy, Rent or Avoid: Rent

 

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Warner Home Video)

The Rundown: Guy Ritchie makes a strong showing with this follow-up to his 2009 blockbuster, where the twists are twistier, and the bromance is more bromantic.

How It Looks: This looks stunning on Blu-ray, especially when Ritchie is cranking the camera at different speeds and turning even the simplest action sequences into something spectacular.

Best Extra: The disc comes with Warner’s trademark “Maximum Movie Mode,” where star Robert Downey Jr. offers insights about the production via a video commentary interjected with storyboards, “focus points” and galleries.

Buy, Rent or Avoid: Rent