Picks and Pans Review: New This Week on Video

updated 09/05/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/05/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

>TOP PICK: THE LAST EMPEROR The thrilling China epic that swept this year's Academy Awards, taking home nine Oscars, including Best Picture, has arrived on video. And, yes, the spectacle loses a bit when cut down to home-screen size. But it gains a bit as well. In theaters, the personal story of Pu Yi, China's final imperial ruler, was sometimes dwarfed by the eye-popping photography. Here, the quiet strength of John Lone's performance as Pu Yi the emperor, puppet, playboy, prisoner and finally peasant shines through even more. (Nelson)

GOOD PERFORMANCE/GOOD MOVIE: RICHARD BURTON (ABSOLUTION) Playing a priest involved in a murder at an English boys school, the late actor found a role that utilized his finely shaded dramatic talents to the fullest. (Trans World)

GOOD PERFORMANCE/BAD MOVIE: BARBARA HERSHEY (SHY PEOPLE) Casting this beauty as a downtrodden Cajun widow and mother is certainly an offbeat idea. But Hershey triumphs even as the overcooked plot sinks in the bayou. (Warner)

SLEEPER SMASH: WHITE OF THE EYE A terrifying film about a housewife (the excellent Cathy Moriarty) who thinks her husband (David Keith) may be the killer stalking the neighborhood. (Paramount)

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