This week's reviews: 'Bourne Identity,' Anastacia, 'State v.'
(PEOPLE) -- This week, PEOPLE.COM looks at the film "The Bourne Identity," Anastacia's "Freak of Nature," and "State v." on ABC.
Movie review: 'The Bourne Identity'
The American intelligence community may be taking knocks lately in Washington, D.C., but Hollywood still loves spies. "The Bourne Identity" is the third film out in as many weeks (after "The Sum of All Fears" and "Bad Company") to feature a CIA operative as its hero. Despite flaws (a limp love story and awkwardly edited fight scenes), "Bourne" is easily the best of the bunch.
Based on a novel by Robert Ludlum and directed by Doug Liman ("Go"), this gripping espionage thriller begins when an unconscious Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is pulled from the Mediterranean by fishermen. He has amnesia and thus can't explain the two bullets in his back or the tiny capsule holding a Swiss bank account number implanted in his thigh. Back on land, when men with guns begin tracking him, Bourne must elude them while figuring out what we know already: He was involved in a rogue CIA operation that failed, and now his boss (Chris Cooper) in D.C. wants him dead.
The closer Bourne comes to learning who he was, the less sure he is that he wants to know, and Damon captures that conflict in a thoughtful, persuasive performance. Franka Potente, as a German fräulein who aids Bourne, shows little of her "Run Lola Run" pep, and there's a glaring lack of chemistry between the two. (PG-13)
Bottom line: Displays superior intelligence
Music review: 'Freak of Nature'
To U.S. audiences it might have seemed a bit freakish for blue-eyed soul sister Anastacia to end up in a lineup alongside Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige and Cher at last month's "VH1 Divas" concert in Las Vegas. In Europe, though, Chicago-born Anastacia (full name: Anastacia Newkirk) went multiplatinum with her 2000 debut, "Not That Kind," and this follow-up, which has already hit No. 1 overseas.
Her formulaic mix of funky dance numbers and melodramatic ballads, delivered with powerhouse belting and sassy attitude, recalls late-'80s/early-'90s R&B pop star Taylor Dayne, but that approach can be as dated as acid-washed jeans. The 26-year-old singer, who cowrote all 12 of the album's songs, tries to freshen things up with a hip-hop-edged duet with Faith Evans, but even that falls flat.
Anastacia is most successful when she shifts gears on more reflective, folk-tinged pop-rock tunes such as "Overdue Goodbye" and "How Come the World Won't Stop," on which her more nuanced vocals flow naturally.
Bottom line: Not-so-super freak
TV review: 'State v.'
ABC (Wednesdays, 10 p.m. ET)
The networks are playing "Can You Top This?" with their legal-reality programs. And the audience wins.
Last week I praised the unscripted courtroom drama of "Crime & Punishment," but this five-week ABC News series goes NBC one better by giving us an inside view of jury deliberations in Maricopa County, Arizona.
The engrossing June 19 premiere pits an implacable prosecutor against a smooth defense counsel in the manslaughter trial of a driver who crashed in a construction area, killing the cousin riding with him. The state says the accused was drunk and reckless. The defense counters that it was a tragic accident caused by misleading signs at the site. After both sides score points, you'll agonize with the jury members as they struggle to achieve a seemingly impossible goal: unanimity.
The murder case in episode 2 seems simple by comparison, and the attorneys' arguments have less force. Again, though, the jury dynamics are fascinating and unpredictable. Ponder whether a camera ever belongs in that room, but don't fail to watch.
Bottom line: Unbreakable court date
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