<p>I am fairly sure that I am the only person who decided to have a certain conversation with Imogen Poots at a recent press day for &#39;Need For Speed&#39;</p>

I am fairly sure that I am the only person who decided to have a certain conversation with Imogen Poots at a recent press day for 'Need For Speed'

Credit: HitFix

Imogen Poots on how she built a dynamic role for 'Need For Speed'

Plus watch us bond over something very special that we share

One of the more unusual interviews I've had recently was with Imogen Poots, who is the female lead of the new action film "Need For Speed," and who was also seen in this spring's "That Awkward Moment."

It is not often that I sit down across from someone after seeing a film and find myself stymied for what we are supposed to discuss, but that happened when I attended the press day for "Need For Speed." After all, the role she plays in the film might as well just be named "The Girl." The part is so thinly written that the majority of what she has to do in the movie is sit in the passenger's seat and smile at Aaron Paul while he does things.

I decided not to tiptoe around things, and I asked her how she approaches the challenge of taking a non-existent character and turning it into something that keeps her dynamic and engaged and that gives her something worth doing. The truth is that most writing for women in mainstream movies is dire, and for young women, that is doubly true. At least there are more character roles available as people age, but when you're a young and beautiful woman, the range of what you're asked to do can be enormously frustrating.

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<p>Godzilla is almost ready for his big debut, and tonight&#39;s SXSW event had him center-stage.</p>

Godzilla is almost ready for his big debut, and tonight's SXSW event had him center-stage.

Credit: Warner Bros/Legendary

New 'Godzilla' makes a special appearance at a screening of the 1954 original

Gareth Edwards finally unveils his giant star in his full glory

AUSTIN - Anxious fans around the world have breathlessly analyzed each new bit of footage that has been released from the Gareth Edwards-directed "Godzilla," which arrives in theaters on May 16th, hoping that this will time, they will recognize the iconic monster, praying that this will not be a repeat of the awful 1998 movie.

I think it's safe for fans everywhere to relax.

One of the events at this year's SXSW festival was a special screening of the 1954 original version of "Gojira," the film that was re-edited with new footage when it was released in America and retitled "Godzilla." Rialto Films has held the American distribution rights to the Toho production for a while now, and this will actually be the second time they've done a national theatrical roll-out of the original movie.

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<p>Aaron Paul has good reason to be excited about pretty much everything these days.</p>

Aaron Paul has good reason to be excited about pretty much everything these days.

Credit: HitFix

Aaron Paul discusses how his own 'Need For Speed' influenced his choice of roles

Can he outrace the memory of Jesse Pinkman?

Aaron Paul's post-"Breaking Bad" career is going to be interesting.

Being on a show that is a breakout phenomenon like that can be a double-edged sword. Sure, his visibility went through the roof, and all of a sudden, he became incredibly well-known, and not just as Jesse. People unearthed old game show appearances and a video of him chatting with tourists outside his house went viral. He became closely identified with the emphatic use of the word "Bitch!", and ended up endorsing a whiskey as himself.

So now what? We talked about how he's adjusted to the end of the show, and we also discussed his first major post-"Breaking Bad" role, the new car stunt extravaganza "Need For Speed" and why he chose this film.

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<p>Kristen Bell&#39;s started work on &#39;Frozen 2&#39; even if Disney hasn&#39;t.</p>

Kristen Bell's started work on 'Frozen 2' even if Disney hasn't.

Credit: HitFix

Kristen Bell says 'I'm recording 'Frozen 2' in my bedroom already'

Now all they need to do is get Disney onboard

Kristen Bell, like Anna Kendrick, has a more substantial background in singing than many audiences know, so it should come as no great shock that when she was finally given the chance to do a full-blown musical, she rocked it.

When we sat down to talk about her return to the character that first brought her to my attention, "Veronica Mars," I couldn't resist asking her whether or not Disney has already broached the subject of making a "Frozen 2." After all, the first one has become a full-blown phenomenon. I may not cover box-office stories, but it would be hard to miss just how big this film is at this point. It's been in the top ten longer than "Avatar" was, and it seems like fans can't get enough of it. Of course they're going to do a stage version of it, but for the first time, Disney may have no choice but to develop a theatrical sequel to one of the princess films, and as long as they keep the core creative team together, there's no reason they can't figure this one out.

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<p>Ethan Hawke was in a particularly great mood after the Austin premiere of his films &#39;Boyhood&#39; and &#39;Predestination&#39;</p>

Ethan Hawke was in a particularly great mood after the Austin premiere of his films 'Boyhood' and 'Predestination'

Credit: HitFix

Ethan Hawke on Linklater, time travel, and space prostitutes in 'Predestination'

A thoughtful ten minutes with the always-engaging actor

AUSTIN - Ethan Hawke walked into the Gibson Guitar Lounge at Maggie Mae's, one of 6th Street's biggest clubs, looking sharp and still flushed from how well Richard Linklater's new film "Boyhood" played for a packed house at the Paramount on Sunday morning.

His parents had joined him, and while he had seen the film at Sundance, it meant something different to him to see it in the city where it was filmed. As soon as he walked in, we started talking, and I've noticed that about him. He's one of those guys who always just seems like he's picking up a conversation with you after a brief interruption, and if you're willing to really dig into a subject with him, he'll absolutely give you thoughtful, interesting answers.

Even on those occasions where I haven't liked a film that he was in, the interviews with him over the years have been excellent, and I feel like this latest was one of the best overall interviews we've done so far. We covered a lot of ground, starting with my extreme irritation at so far having missed "Boyhood" at both Sundance and this festival. I am dying to see it. If there's any film this year that I want to see, it's that one. It's just been a brutal twist of timing so far that has kept me from having a chance.

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<p>I know both Seth Rogen and Zac Efron are pictured here in the new film &#39;Neighbors,&#39; but it&#39;s impossible to tell which one of them is which when the shirts come off.</p>

I know both Seth Rogen and Zac Efron are pictured here in the new film 'Neighbors,' but it's impossible to tell which one of them is which when the shirts come off.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: Seth Rogen and Zac Efron wage a hilarious war as ill-suited 'Neighbors'

Nicholas Stoller's latest is also his best

AUSTIN - Many of the modern comedies that are considered classics become part of the pop culture lexicon, endlessly quoted by fans in all sorts of different contexts. I have a strong suspicion that "Neighbors" is going to be one of those films that is simply absorbed whole by audiences. Not only is it uproariously funny and almost breathtakingly dirty, it is better written than it needs to be on a character level, delivering completely on its premise.

Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose) are a young married couple who are adjusting to parenthood, having just moved into their first house. They're at that moment where they still have fresh memories of their party days, but they're settling into a life of responsibility and chafing a bit at the sensation. When the Delta Psy Kappa fraternity buys the house next door to them, Mac and Kelly are determined to try to be the cool neighbors. They go over to introduce themselves to Teddy (Zac Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco), the president and vice-president of the frat, and they try to reach out so that there won't be any problems in the future.

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<p>Kristen Bell returns to one of her best roles in the new movie &#39;Veronica Mars,&#39; and the result will be worth the wait for fans.</p>

Kristen Bell returns to one of her best roles in the new movie 'Veronica Mars,' and the result will be worth the wait for fans.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Review: 'Veronica Mars' will delight old fans and may even win new ones

The big-screen revival of the show feels like no time has passed

AUSTIN - It was smack dab in the middle of last year's SXSW festival that "Veronica Mars" made news with their massively successful Kickstarter campaign, so it seems only right that they would bring the film to premiere at the festival this year. As someone who enjoyed the show enormously while it was on the air, I am relieved to report that the film felt to me like it successfully recaptured the spirit of the show's first season. My only question at this point is how it will work for audiences who didn't see the show, which, based on the ratings, would seem to be pretty much everyone.

In the series, Veronica was a typical 15-year-old girl living in Neptune, California, a small community with a pronounced class struggle going on, until her best friend Lilly Kane (Amanda Seyfried) was murdered. Veronica's father Keith (Enrico Colantoni) was Neptune's sheriff, and when he became convinced that Lilly's billionaire father was the murderer, it ended up ruining his reputation. Someone else was arrested and convicted, and Keith ended up opening a private investigator's office. Veronica's mother left, and Veronica ended up channeling all of her private pain into working for her father and, on the side, working to solve Lilly's murder. The entire first season of the series dealt with that one story arc, and week to week, Veronica also got involved in cases that centered on her high school peers. It was a winning formula, with a very sharp verbal sense of humor and a willingness to tackle some ugly, difficult topics in the process like date rape, steroid abuse, alcoholism, and the death of the middle class.

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<p>Jason Bateman and Rohan Chand co-star in the blisteringly funny &#39;Bad Words&#39;</p>

Jason Bateman and Rohan Chand co-star in the blisteringly funny 'Bad Words'

Credit: Focus Features

Review: Jason Bateman gets a lot of mileage out of mean in the very funny 'Bad Words'

Chalk this up as another successful actor-turned director

AUSTIN - Jason Bateman has spent most of his life in front of the camera, and like many actors, he finally reached a point where he wanted to make a film of his own. Working from a wicked script by Andrew Dodge, he's made a film that gives him one of the best starring roles he's ever had, and it feels like even though this was written by someone else, it perfectly suits the comic sensibilities he's displayed as long as he's been working.

When Bateman was young, he had a knack for playing awful people who still somehow managed to be charming. Even though he was only on 21 episodes of "Silver Spoons," that was enough for me to identify him as someone worth watching. He and I are roughly the same age, and I liked that he had such a serene confidence about being a splendid asshole onscreen. Like Michael J. Fox, Bateman had a sense of natural comic timing that was equal to or better than any of his adult co-stars. It seemed like TV was where he worked most often, and as he got older, his attempts to cross over to film were largely unsuccessful.

Well, we're a long way from "Teen Wolf Too."

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<p>John Leguizamo and Jon Favreau teach Emjay Anthony the tricks of the trade as chefs who open a food truck in &#39;Chef,&#39; this year&#39;s opening night movie at SXSW.</p>

John Leguizamo and Jon Favreau teach Emjay Anthony the tricks of the trade as chefs who open a food truck in 'Chef,' this year's opening night movie at SXSW.

Credit: Open Road

Review: Jon Favreau serves up laughs and tears with his new film 'Chef'

Favs returns to his indie roots with his best film in years

AUSTIN - The Jon Favreau who wrote and directed "Chef" is the same Jon Favreau who helped create "Swingers" and "Made," the same guy who brought a distinctly independent voice to "Iron Man," the same guy who gave "Elf" such an unexpectedly big heart, and the same guy who seemed almost completely submerged in the giant studio product of "Cowboys and Aliens." I have no doubt you'll see plenty of people attempting to turn "Chef" into Favreau's autobiographical reaction to his own career, and while I think there are some valid and interesting parallels, I also think it would be both cheap and easy to assume that this is simply some knee-jerk cry of "But I'm really an ARRRRRRRTIST!"

"Chef" is a deceptively simple film. Favreau stars as Carl Casper, a chef who works for an upscale Los Angeles restaurant. Anointed a decade earlier as a promising young chef by a restaurant critic (Oliver Platt) in Miami, Carl has settled into a routine, cooking the same food every day, serving a menu he doesn't really believe in, and little by little, it's killing him. His job has already cost him his wife Inez (Sophia Vergera) and his son Percy (Emjay Anthony), and it feels like Carl barely exiss away from the kitchen. When the same critic who first helped make his reputation reviews the restaurant and delivers what feels like a very personal and pointed savaging, Carl melts down, and he finds himself out of work.

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<p>The WABAC may look different, and Sherman and Peabody may be in 3D, but in its best moments, the new film gets these characters right.</p>

The WABAC may look different, and Sherman and Peabody may be in 3D, but in its best moments, the new film gets these characters right.

Credit: 20th Century Fox/Dreamworks Animation

Review: 'Mr. Peabody & Sherman' errs by favoring sentiment over laughs

How much subtext is too much?

When I was a kid and Saturday morning was still appointment viewing for me with hours and hours of cartoons on all three networks, I would frequently get up before the sun was even up. I'd get myself a giant bowl of whatever sugary cereal was my poison of choice at the time and plant myself in front of the set so that I had control over whatever was going to be watched well before my sister woke up. There were many weeks where I was up and ready to go before the networks even began their programming, and by default, I would put on the only cartoons playing at that hour, a giant re-run block of "Rocky & Bullwinkle."

At the time, I didn't fully appreciate the lunacy of the Jay Ward productions, and it was only as I got older that I began to understand the silly word play and the gleeful demolition of storytelling cliche that were the cornerstones of all of the different cartoons that existed under that broader umbrella. I grew to particularly enjoy the absurdist take on history that was represented by the "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" cartoons, and when DreamWorks Animation announced a feature film version a few years ago, I hoped they would honor the spirit of the original.

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