In the trailer for Maladies, James Franco plays a character named James, who is an actor in a soap opera until he becomes a writer. Sound familiar?
The film was written and directed by multimedia artist Carter, who previously collaborated with Franco on something called Erased James Franco. Maladies, which is being released in theaters and on VOD in March, is a period piece and has a good cast that includes, aside from Franco, Catherine Keener and David Strathairn.
That said, it did not get good reviews at the Berlin Film Festival last year. In fact, it got basically savaged. "But really, aside from Franco’s cool collection of vintage plaid woolen coats, and some gorgeous tunes by composer J. Ralph and his music collective the Rumor Mill, there’s scant emotional, aesthetic or intellectual gratification in this grainy, flat-looking portrait of the artist as a young nut job," David Rooney wrote at The Hollywood Reporter. Andrew Pulver at The Guardian wondered: "Is it anything more than a vanity project? It's hard to see it any other way." The Playlist's Jessica Kiang called it "wasteful."
So it's not exactly a must-see. But we're loathe to resist a chance to delve into Franco's psyche.