As the host of Friday Picturehouse on HBO Signature (StarHub Ch 66), Linda Black has a job most cinemaphiles would kill for – featuring new, exciting and edgy movies premiering on Asian television. Does this lanky, exotic beauty (cat) walk the talk though? The answer is a big resounding yes! From sci-fi ("I’m a huge Trekkie") to comedies ("I love to laugh! Movies are meant to entertain, and this is what I like!", Linda declares, "I love movies! I love watching them, I love escaping with them and I love trivial knowledge about them!" That surely must come in useful in her line of work.
Then she throws us a curveball. "Unlike most women, I can’t stand rom-coms or the movies I would lovingly label ‘torture porn’". Say what? A woman who dislikes romantic comedies? According to the 1.78m model with 17 years of experience, "I can’t stand rom-coms! I definitely will not choose it over, say The Express, or Sahara. Once in a while a good one comes along like How to Lose A Man in Ten Days. It’s absolutely priceless and I could watch it over and over. Or It Could Happen to You- even this scrooge can’t turn it off! I think women love rom-coms because not only are they feel-good movies, but some like to escape into them as well. They just need to realise that real life is not like the movies!"
Tell that to the girlfriend. So…what about this ‘torture porn’ she mentioned? Scrub those filthy mind of yours! ‘Torture porn’ is what she calls the horror flicks they churn out these days. Is it linked to the recent study that revealed women are turned on by horror films?Linda explains, "Personally, I’m not a fan of horror the way it’s done now. I call it "torture porn" with people screaming and helpless and still meeting a grisly fate. I guess the theory behind this is an adrenalin rush? I’m sitting there watching it with my stomach turning! Now I am a fan of the horror classics! Again, I’m not wrapped up in the story so much as I am the special effects of the day. For a real chilling movie, forget Blair Witch. Watch The Changeling from back in the 80’s. Absolutely frightening!"
Doesn’t like rom-coms. Loves classic horror, sci-fi and comedies. If we were Siskel and Ebert, we’d give Linda two thumbs up.
On whether movies are still a good first date option…
"Absolutely! Going to the movies is a time-tested and honoured tradition of first dates! I still love going to the movies on a date – you just can’t go wrong! I would stay away from tear-jerkers (ladies) and war movies (men)! Anything else is pretty fair game."
On snacking at the movies – solo or share?
"Share, of course! Especially when on a date and you are trying to be sweet. Of course don’t just buy one of everything and assume you are going to share. And the lady will think you’re cheap. I’m not a big popcorn fan, but I see that everyone globally seems to like it. I need sweet things personally. But whatever it is you get, please, please, please make sure it isn’t loud! This movie purist will shush you!"
What if she doesn’t care for the show you want to watch? Or you don’t care for her film pick?
"Well, by nature I’m a compromiser. She’ll have to sit through Rudy and watch him cry, it still has the romantic factor too. But I suppose on a more practical level, men – you just gotta suck it up and watch the movie, but it should pay off in the end. (On the other hand, if your woman is not a compromiser and won’t watch Red Dawn, or any movie starring Ah-nuld once, then direct her to me, and I’ll tell her she’s being a hypocrite.)
Is it okay to talk during a movie?
"Ladies! Gents! Shut up during the movie! I get so engrossed in a movie that I will tune out fire alarms, explosions, and World War III. What I can’t tune out is a jabbering person who is snickering or asking loudly what just happened. I love my movies! But after it’s over I will chat nonstop about it."
On her favourite actors…
"I’m a huge Morgan Freeman fan, there is nothing he is in that I haven’t liked. I think my favourite kind of actor is the thoughtful everyman who can convey conviction and intelligence. Matt Damon, Liam Neeson, Leonardo DiCaprio, even Robert Downey Jr. – you can’t go wrong with any of any flicks from any of these guys! Oh… there was that Stuck On You movie Matt Damon did with Greg Kinnear – but he made up for it with that amazing cameo in Eurotrip – totally made up for it!"
Her 2010 movie picks?
"A-Team – if you are a fan of the 80’s TV show this is a must (Liam Neeson – drool)!
Iron Man 2 – another chance to watch Downey Jr, and I’m not missing that.
Clash of the Titans – I am a huge fan of Greek mythology, and even though the original butchered most of the stories I was such a fan of, the special effects were awesome and laughable at the same time. Plus Liam Neeson again acts in this – this time as Zeus!
Prince of Persia – The Sands of Time – Even though I was a fan of the game and not a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal who is the star, I still saw a trailer and was blown away. Even the girls are going to like that one.
Red Dawn – the remake. The 80’s one I had the misfortune to watch recently, and it was kitschy in its way. It will be interesting to see how they handle a remake.
Alice in Wonderland looks like an absolute trip, and I think I mean that in not the nicest way. It looks pleasantly disturbing."