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Shaun Bennett
  1. Describe your age.
    Just listen to the Gary Moore song, "... Over the hills and far away..."

    I may be a crusty old film veteran, but I am not old enough to be Noah's timber merchant. Although, I do feel like it at times; usually, when I am constantly reminded of ancient television programs like Wacky Races and Thunderbirds. Don't even mention the old Flash Gordon serials... :)

  2. Where were you five years ago?
    Looking at this computer monitor...

  3. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
    ... Still looking at this computer monitor... :)

  4. What's a good night's entertainment for you and your friends?
    Other than tripping the light fantastic with wine, women and song, a great night usually involves some GoldenEye deathmatches in front of the television. When I say that, I mean on the screen. :)

    Although it does get a tad gruesome sometimes...

  5. What got you into DVD and how long ago?
    Two years now and counting, I was converted to DVD after my prized VHS box-set (actually, a birthday present) of The Godfather was destroyed by a rabid VCR. Not to mention the fact that despite treating my video collection with the utmost care, they were being affected by dust and other particles. Then there was my cherished copy of Akira... :(

    Certainly, I seem to often complain about MPEG artefacts, but I'd rather that than see legions linear blips marching across the screen like stormtroopers as I'm trying to watch a film.

  6. What do you love about DVD?
    What's there not to love?

    Convenient, compact, elegant, attractive, superior visual and sound quality, extra features... all encased in lovely, shiny silicon. I'd go on but my keyboard is beginning to salivate.

    Oooooh, I want it to have my children... :)

  7. Given the advances in DVD over the past few years, does the format still surprise you and why?
    As far as the technological aspects are concerned - no, not really. Certainly, when DVD was first introduced into the mainstream market, you could have knocked me over with a feather. Now, I think that I have become accustomed (but not jaded) to it. You could say that I am in danger of taking the wonders of DVD for granted.

    Having said that, however, there are several transfers which continue to stun me; for instance, Saving Private Ryan, The Cell and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I am itching to see the transfers for Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments.

  8. What title in your collection do you use to introduce friends and family to DVD and why?
    Without a doubt, Martin Campbell's The Mask of Zorro. Every element of this DVD is simply superb, whether it be detail, colour, or texture; the sound itself is magnificent and, in some respects, actually better than what I experienced in the cinema. Or, if they are unluckly, my Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 collection. :)

  9. Outside of DVD, what keeps you entertained?
    Well, I like to indulge in music, be it performing live or spinning turntables; I moonlight as a drummer for a local band and participate in dee-jaying. As mentioned further down, I am a radid gamer.

    When I have enough of computers or suffered another bout of Nintendo thumbitis, I relax by reading novels - any genre will do, but I am primarily gravitated towards sci-fi - and writing.

    I have aspirations (or are they delusions?) of becoming a published sci-fi author. I have written numerous short stories, and have been dedicating whatever spare time I have in attempting to write a series of six sci-fi novels, tentatively entitled The J'hardi Chronicles.

  10. Have you ever met someone famous before and/or wish to meet someone famous?
    Do you mean (in)famous? Well, in that case, I did ferry South Australian politicans Dean Brown and Ian Gilfilan around in a government car. Ashamedly, I used to work for an Economic and Development Board.

    I could tell you where, but then I'd have to kill you... :)

    As far as wishing to meet someone famous, it would have to be a historical figure - Shakespeare, Napoleon Bonaparte, Duke Wellington, Horatio Nelson... You get the picture.

  11. What is your current method of transport and what would you like to upgrade to?
    I am the proud owner of a glacier-white 1992 EB Ford Falcon, and a Suzuki 750cc Street Fighter.

    It's not even remotely possible, but I would love to be in the position of owning a Lamborghini Contach or Diablo. Yet another fuel-injected fantasy. However, my ultimate dream would be to take the wild, blue yonder in either a Messerchmitt Bf-109, Mitsubishi A6M Zero, Supermarine Spitfire Mark II, or a Sopwith Camel.

    "Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire." (And cue air guitar solo)... :)

  12. What is your favorite recipe/meal/take-away?
    In the words of Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo: PIZZA!!!

  13. What is the only joke you seem to remember when people around you are telling jokes?
    Q. What is the definition of a wind tunnel?

    A: Eight blondes standing at a bus stop.

    And no, I didn't make it up... :)

  14. Can you juggle? Can you juggle knives? Can you still juggle?
    Not after losing all my fingers.

    I have since become a member of several safety unions. 'Dis member, 'dis member, 'dat member... :)

  15. What are the most memorable nicknames you've had in your lifetime?
    Do I have to admit this?

    I only remember two: Benji (on account of my last name, and family-orientated films which featured dogs as heroes were popular when Adam was a boy), and Cyrano (on account of my proboscis). The nicknames generally ceased when I began hitting people... :)

    It's true what they say about a man with a big nose. Yep, he needs a big hankerchief.

  16. What was the first video game you fell in love with, on what machine? What is your favourite now?
    This is a somewhat hard question for me, as I am a dedicated video game freak. So much so, that my last relationship was completely obliterated by my love for games. I was there at the advent of Atari's Pong and Night Driver, and I witnessed the rise of classics such as Space Invaders, Moon Cresta, Xevious, and Dragon's Lair.

    However, that passion became a religion with the arrival on PC of four simple words: Doom and Command & Conquer. I am not even going to mention Dune II: The Battle for Arrakis. :)

    At the moment, my favourite games are still Red Alert II, Starcraft & Brood War, Ground Control and Deus Ex on PC; Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, and Jet Force Gemini on Nintendo 64.

    If you're listening, Joanna Dark, will you marry me? I love a strong, independent woman with, erm, big guns... :)

  17. What are your favourites? (Music, movies, books, anything!)
    Favourite music: Jeff Wayne's musical version of The War of the Worlds, Paul Simon's Graceland, The Prodigy's Fat of the Land, The Sex Pistols' Never Mind The Bollocks, and anything from Frank Sinatra and The Beatles.

    Favourite books: George Orwell's 1984, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, William Gibson's Neuromancer, Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, Frank Herbert's Dune, and anything from Iain M. Banks and Elizabeth Moon.

    Favourite directors: Stanley Kubrick, Sergei Eisenstein, Francis Ford Coppola, Sam Peckinpah, David Lynch, David Lean, Jane Campion, Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and Akira Kurosawa.

    Favourite DVDs: Ghost In The Shell, The Matrix, Alien, The Rock Horror Picture Show, Dark City, The Mask of Zorro, Das Boot: The Director's Cut, Bram Stoker's Dracula, The Cell, and Gilda. (Put the blame on mame, boy...)

    Favourite films: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Gone With The Wind, Battelship Potemkin, Betty Blue, The Cell, and The Wild Bunch.

  18. What DON'T you like about DVD?
    Well, as frisbees they are not very aerodynamic. They're a complete wash-out as beer coasters. And you can't use them as bargaining chips at the local blackjack table... :)

Shaun's recent reviews:

Engelbert Humperdinck - Live
"With his superlative vocal technique, smouldering sensuality, and acute witticism, Humperdinck exudes radiance in a concert performance that borders on the sublime..."

Illuminations - The Tea Party Collection
"Currently, this stands as the definitive pictorial document of a formidable group who, despite the never-ending comparisons and ridicule, seem destined for greatness. Highly recommended..."

Tangerine Dream - The Video Dream Mixes
"The digital equivalent of an acid-fueled hallucinogenic experience, featuring a mind-altering barrage of ethereal imagery set to pulsating trance-orientated electronica... "

Cleopatra - Special Edition
"Maligned and misunderstood, Cleopatra can be perceived as either a forgotten classic or as a grand folly... "

What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?
"Ample proof, if needed, that a sequel does not necessarily equal... Few moments of brilliance cannot save the film’s lack of direction or characterisation... "

The End of St Petersburg
"A monumental classic from one of the grand masters of cinema, Vsevolod Pudovkin, and enhanced to no end by an excellent transfer... "

Once Were Warriors
"Succeeds on every level, be it visceral, sociological and intellectual... Brutal yet artistically beautiful, Tamahori’s tour de force is the personification of cinematic perfection... "

Willie Nelson - Live in Amsterdam
"An exceptional concert, showcasing Nelson’s distinctive musical style and formidable songwriting skills..."

The Lord of the Rings
"With this abysmal effort, director Ralph Bakshi should be indicted on charges relating to the prostitution of art..."

"In the finest tradition of Russian cinema, director Sergei Bondarchuk has produced a rousing blood-and-thunder epic... A must for historical buffs, but beware the transfer... "

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