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Alternate Realities (Review)

"Fast-paced and thought-provoking"

by Randy Krinsky

Written by Andrew M. Henderson, Alternate Realities is director Amir Valinia’s latest film.  Originally titled Flashes, the new recut release is basically a multi-plot love story with a science-fiction spin.  Each of the three plots revolves around John Rotit (Donny Boaz), a man struggling to maintain his sanity as he “flashes” between alternate realities, all the while trying in each to secure his relationship with his true love, Clare (Elle LaMont). With each “flash,” the audience is thrust deeper into the life and mind of a man besieged by a reality he doesn’t understand.  Only in the end, when the storylines converge does he realize his perceptions were all wrong.  This film cannot be watched with a casual view; the story twists and takes unexpected turns.  It’s not until the third act that the viewer can begin to decipher the clues that Henderson and Valinia have lain out. This is an engaging story; fast-paced and thought-provoking.

Alternate Realities
Directed by Amir Valinia
Cast Tom Sizemore, Christopher Judge, Elle LaMont
Release Date TBA
Randy's Grade: A-

The production values were high and you can see the care and expertise that went into this film.  Director Amir Valinia and his crew performed excellently in bringing Henderson’s screenplay to life.  Past films have tried tackling this theme before but relied too heavily on special effects, sacrificing story.  Valinia, with little if any effects, keeps the story grounded. He even added a short scene where a physics professor, Ernstrom (Christopher Judge), briefly explains to the main character the science behind the alternate reality theories at play.

The cinematography was top notch and provided by industry veteran Barry Strickland, with each scene superbly framed, angled and lit. The addition of beautiful aerial photography highlighted the Houston landscape where the film was shot. Having spoken with Valinia, I can attest to how seriously he takes the composition and lighting of his films. He strives to produce a well-crafted product that viewers will enjoy and appreciate; his dedication definitely shows.

The original music was likewise refreshing and carried the scenes beautifully, winning supervising sound editor, Sammy Huen, an award for Best Sound Design at the 2014 Action on Film International Film Festival.

The acting was superb; a feat made all the more difficult as multiple actors portrayed multiple characters, differing in each reality.  Donny Boaz, Christopher Judge, as well as Tom Sizemore and Deke Anderson have to juggle demeanors and personalities as the characters differ in each reality portrayed.  Their performances highlight their acting talents.  Another standout was Elle LaMont, whose performance as John Rotit’s wife, Clare, was likewise wonderful.

Christopher Judge and Tom Sizemore were late additions to the cast and had their scenes worked in after principal photography was shot.  The editing was seamless and their characters meshed well with the existing storyline.  Judge and Sizemore, both veteran actors with experience in both feature films and successful television series, added their skill and distinction to every scene in which they appeared.  Sizemore did indulge in some erratic eye movement during one particular scene but his character’s exchange was such that only the most discerning viewer would fault the actor.

There were also two transitions in the latter part of the film that were missed in the film’s editing but the story carried the scene through and an engrossed viewer wouldn’t even notice.  The film flowed very well; a credit to Valinia, who also edited the film.

Executive produced by Amir Valinia and Theta Catalon of AV1 Productions, they are the inaugural recipients of the 2013 Houston Filmmaker Award as part of the Mayor's Film Task Force, making Alternate Realities the first film partially funded by the City of Houston!

You can visit the film's website at www.alternaterealities.org

Read our interview with Alternate Realities Director Amir Valinia

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