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3 items from 2014

Maladies | Review

21 March 2014 9:00 AM, PDT | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

Crazy, Stupid, Art: Carter’s Directorial Debut Less than the Sum of its Parts

Multimedia artist Carter makes his directorial debut with Maladies, an intriguing sounding project that stars James Franco, who collaborated with Carter back in 2008 on an experimental project called Erased James Franco, which, over the course of an hour, sees the actor re-enact scenes from his own filmography as well as a reinterpretation of Julianne Moore’s performance from the Todd Haynes film, Safe (1995). If you think that sounds lofty and ambiguous, then the meta-context attempted in their latest effort feels nearly mainstream in comparison (though, to be clear, sometimes reinterpretation is a euphemism for remake). Borrowing details from the similar events in Franco’s own life as it slips unexplainably between eras and anachronisms, a certain mystique fools us into thinking there’s something of actual substance going on under the vague veneer of mental illness »

- Nicholas Bell

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James Franco Plays Another Version of Himself in Maladies

18 March 2014 9:00 PM, PDT | Village Voice | See recent Village Voice news »

After convincing pomo stuntman James Franco into a guest turn on General Hospital and a career retrospective of sorts in Erased James Franco, an art film in which the Oscar nominee recreates performances from his filmography, multimedia artist Carter could perhaps make another feature about how he talked Franco and Catherine Keener into starring in a wilting frippery like his new mental-illness drama Maladies.

Franco plays a character named James who's a distant simulacrum of the performer himself — a former soap-opera actor who suffers from the same psychological sickness that afflicts so many other movie characters: He flinches when he's touched, listens to the dial tone when distressed, and hallucinates a voice that narrates what he does and how he »

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Is James Franco Playing Himself in ‘Maladies’?

5 February 2014 9:00 AM, PST | | See recent FilmSchoolRejects news »

“You don’t need any help thinking abstractly, James.” Multi-hyphenate James Franco and his apparent quest to do everything has long bled over into the sense that the actor-turned-whatever is doing actual performance art in his own life – particularly when it comes to stuff like his soap opera stint on General Hospital and his weirdly compelling turn in Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers. Franco may be ostensibly interested in reaching out beyond the norm, but he paradoxically seems to do that sort of thing while also still being so very James Franco. Franco’s latest project (and, when it comes to Franco, this stuff is always a “project” with a capital P) is a film called Maladies, an almost suffocatingly arty affair in which Franco appears to be playing a version of himself. In the film, Franco stars as a failed actor named James who abandons Hollywood for small town life, the »

- Kate Erbland

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