John Wick (2014) & The Neon Demon (2016) Movie Reviews

With John Wick: Chapter 2 coming out, I figured I better review the first film (which I finally watched a few months ago). So I wrote the below review. After writing it, I then watched The Neon Demon. I must say that John Wick has gone up in my estimation since seeing The Neon Demon. Every movie EVER MADE has now gone up in my estimation since seeing The Neon F*%#ing Demon!!!!! Let’s talk about these, shall we…?

John Wick (2014)

Directed by Chad Stahelski & David Leitch

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Willem Dafoe

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him.

My Opinion:

I love Keanu Reeves. And, apparently, I’m not alone. I was very surprised when a list I did last year of My Top Ten Keanu Reeves Movies was one of my most viewed & most shared posts. Yay! Everyone loves Keanu! I honestly didn’t realize he was so popular.

So I made that list having not yet seen John Wick or The Neon Demon and figured I could update it once I’ve watched them. Well, I’ve now updated the list. I can tell you that The Neon Demon sure as SHIT doesn’t make the top ten (it’s atrocious). Unfortunately, John Wick doesn’t quite manage to break into my top ten either. It’s very close! I’ve put it at 12 but it’s probably hovering around the 10, 11 or 12 range depending on my mood… So there you go – I’m sure you were all dying to know my final official ranking of Keanu Reeves films! 😉

John Wick is a really fun action film. It was what I expected in being all style over substance so that didn’t bother me at all. We all need to turn off our brains sometimes & just watch a fun action flick! I think I was just disappointed that it wasn’t as much fun or as stylish as I’d been expecting in order for it to make up for that lack of substance. It’s an okay film but comes absolutely nowhere near Keanu’s best. This is no The Matrix or Speed and it’s especially no Point Break (Point Break rules!). Damn. But, man, I loved that puppy. Cutest puppy EVER! I’m giving this movie a slightly higher rating simply because of the puppy. A BEAGLE. A SNOOPY puppy!!!!!


Wook at that wittle face!

I do know how to enjoy a fun “popcorn” movie and, no, I wasn’t expecting Oscar-quality writing or acting in John Wick. However, I needed to know the character of John Wick a little better in order to care about him & his quest for vengeance. We get some flashbacks of his wife and, of course, we meet his adorable puppy. However, we didn’t get much of his backstory. I felt like I didn’t know a thing about him by the end other than that he was sad about his dead wife (not a spoiler – she’s already dead at the beginning of the movie). I mean, he’s a (former) killer. Right? How is he any better than the many, many (many) people he proceeds to kill throughout this film? Because a cute puppy licked his face & he loved his pretty wife?

Okayyyy – I fully admit to falling asleep in the middle of this like I often do during films at home so maybe I missed something (I’m a parent. I’m exhausted). 😉 Why did he retire? For love? Or because he developed a conscience? I hope that was the reason… The only way I can describe it is this: I sometimes watch a movie and feel like I’ve jumped right into the middle of it and missed a bunch of the beginning where they’ve set up the characters & the story. I felt that way 30 minutes into John Wick despite missing absolutely nothing from the start. I almost cared more about Willem Dafoe’s character (a great character, from the very little we get to know him – I’d love to know more about his previous relationship with Wick as well). Well, maybe we’ll find out more in the sequel? As fun as it is to watch some shoot-em-up non-stop action sometimes, I still want to know a little about the main character at the very least. If I care about him, I’ll get more enjoyment from his revenge. I do love a really good revenge movie! I liked John Wick well enough to watch the sequel but it’s a “wait for it to show up on Netflix” movie for me. (Although, initial reviews of the sequel are very good so maybe I can be talked into making a trip to the cinema for it. But the sequel puppy isn’t nearly as cute…!!!)

My Rating: 6.5/10

**SPOILERS. Kind of.**

The Neon Demon (2016)

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

Starring: Elle Fanning, Karl Glusman, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves

Plot Synopsis: Guy succeeds in making a decent film called Drive, which then gives him the freedom to make the biggest pile of shit I’ve seen since similar success for another writer led to the creation of the atrocious Jennifer’s Body. The Neon Demon makes Jennifer’s Body look good. 

My Opinion:

I called a movie that I reviewed last week a “load of pretentious bullshit” (the movie Comet). I now apologize profusely to that movie. I’d rather be strapped to a chair “Clockwork Orange-style” & forced to watch Comet 100 times than to ever have to even THINK about The Neon Demon again. I want to wipe this movie from my memory “Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind-style“. I want to go back in time and, “Marty McFly-style”, tell myself it’s my destiny (density!) to NEVER watch The Neon Demon. I want to take a flame thrower to this movie “Ellen Ripley-style“. I want to get medieval on this movie’s ass “Marsellus Wallace- style“. I want to stick this movie’s head in a box “Gwyneth Paltrow-style“. I want to banish this movie to the cornfield “Twilight Zone-style“. I want this movie to eat itself, to puke itself up, to re-eat itself, to piss itself out, and to f*%k its own corpse “The Neon Demon-style“.

I can’t truly put into words just how much I hated The Neon Demon and its fake, derivative, shallow, pointless, pretentious aping of artistic masters such as Jodorowsky, Buñuel, Argento, von Trier, Cronenberg, Lynch, etc etc. Not everyone will be a fan of all of those I’ve named (I’m not even saying that I like them all myself) but, like their work or not, at least they did their own thing instead of making superficial & inferior copies of their influences.

I’ll give this movie an extra point for Elle Fanning, though, as I thought she did a decent job for her young age. Other than Fanning, everyone in this is now slightly ruined for me the next time I see them in other films (even Keanu, dammit). Still love him, though, so I’ll try to put this movie out of my mind. But I hope to never see Jena Malone in anything ever again so am very glad that I wasn’t a fan of hers in the first place. More than anything, I’m annoyed that this has tainted the movie Drive and especially that it has ruined Drive’s soundtrack for me, which I liked even more than the film. I’ve hated plenty of movies over the years but I don’t think there’s ever been one that I actually regretted seeing. The Neon Demon may very well be the first. In that regard, I suppose you at least have to give Nicolas Winding Refn credit for creating a film that generated some strong reactions from its’ viewers. I don’t mind movies with some shock value (of those I mentioned above, I do love a lot of Cronenberg’s work) but, to quote my husband, “The Neon Demon thinks it’s art when it’s merely just artifice”.

My Rating: 2/10

Happy 4th Blogiversary To Me

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving (or just a nice weekend if you’re not American). 🙂 As my blogiversary is so close to the end of the year, I always do a little recap of my year so far. This is post number 1,251 for me. Over all four years, I mean – that would be an insane amount for just one year. Still, I can’t believe I’ve put that many posts together! I should put as much effort into cleaning the house or something instead. (Ha! Won’t happen).

Okay – here’s my blog recap of 2016 (so far)…..

2016 POSTS

My Most Popular Post: It’s actually a page: My list of every movie I’ve watched in 2016 (ranked & rated, because I’m a loser). My top post is my double review of Turbo Kid & Space Station 76. That makes me happy! I loved the originality of both & SS76 is an underrated film that’s become a firm favorite of everything I’ve watched this year. The IPC’s Eric & I also had a chat on Twitter with a guy involved in the making of the film. I love when that happens! (This year, I also got comments on my blog from an actor in the great indie film Circle & an actress in David Cronenberg’s Shivers. Gotta love the Internet! What a crazy world.)

My Favorite Post: I really enjoy writing about films that make me think. I love when I’m still thinking about a movie days after seeing it & there were quite a few like that for me this year. So I loved reviewing Predestination, Circle, Nocturnal Animals & Arrival. I also loved reviewing Adrienne Shelly’s fantastic film Waitress, which deserves more recognition. She was a great talent & I wish we could’ve seen much more of her work.

2016 MOVIES WATCHED

Number watched: 109. Wow! How did that happen??

Watched In Cinema (My Top Five Favorites):
1. Room – 9/10
2. Arrival – 9/10
3. Sing Street – 8/10
4. The Girl With All The Gifts – 8/10
5. The Purge: Election Year – 7.5/10

Watched At Home (My Top Five Favorites):
1. In Your Eyes – 8/10
2. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly – 8/10
3. Natural Born Killers – 8/10
4. Space Station 76 – 7.5/10
5. Predestination – 7.5/10

TOP TEN LISTS

My Most Popular Top Ten List: Looks like it’s a tie between My Top Ten Diane Lane Movies & My Top Ten Keanu Reeves Movies. (FYI – I’ve now finally watched John Wick. Not sure if it would quite make the list…)

My Favorite Top Ten List: My favorite this year was probably when I grossed everyone out with My Top Ten Period Dramas. I also enjoyed making a list of My Top Ten Wooden Actors.

SEARCH TERMS

My Top Search Term: Odd Thomas. I’m actually bored with this being my top search term, all because that cute girl up there wears a pair of panties that leave very little to the imagination. Of course, I posted an image of the panties scene so I guess I only have myself to blame…. 😉

My Favorite Search Term: Not sure – maybe the searches for Forever Ambergris, my post about a Tales From The Crypt episode starring Steve Buscemi & Roger Daltrey. It’s one of my favorite posts I’ve ever done. Possibly because it’s one of a very small handful that I actually put some effort into. Ha!

Here are my top search terms for the year so far:

2016 BOOKS READ

Number read: 12

My Top Five Favorites

1. The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett
2. 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill
3. The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams by Stephen King
4. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
5. TIE: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel & The End Of The World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker

Book I’m Currently Reading: Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Tiny November Recap

Movies Watched:

1. Arrival – 9/10
2. Your Name – 8/10
3. Nocturnal Animals – 8/10
4. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them – 6/10
5. Monster Hunter – 6/10
6. Sisters – 5/10

BLOG PLANS FOR DECEMBER

Upcoming December Movies:

First let’s have a look at some of the movies coming out in December that I’m hoping to see…

Hell Yes, I’m going to these:
Rogue One (tickets already booked) 🙂
Passengers
Moana
May go to if I have time:
The Edge Of Seventeen
Sully
Snowden
Will wait for Netflix:
I Am Not A Serial Killer
Monster Trucks
Collateral Beauty
Bleed For This
Ballerina

As for blog plans, December is obviously a very busy month for a lot of people and I can’t see having much time for blogging. I have two movies left to watch for my 2016 Blind Spot Series & I’ll kick myself if I don’t manage to do those after doing 10 of the 12 so far. So, I think watching those two is my main priority. I’ll review Rogue One, Passengers & Moana. And I’ll of course also do the usual end-of-the-year-lists in the final week of December since list-making is near the top of my list of favorite things to do! If there’s time, I hope to do a few more reviews of my favorite books this year since I’m behind on those.

Thanks To All Of You

I do apologize for the blogging thing having to take a backseat to the busy real-life stuff I have going on at the moment (Which I know is the way it should be anyway & I hope it’s the same for the rest of you). But I do miss you guys & reading your blogs! Even though I’m not around here as much, I still think about you and hope you’re all happy & watching fantastic movies. Thank you to those who still pop by sometimes & comment on my hastily-written meandering reviews despite my absence & my taking so long to reply to comments lately. But you know I always reply to every comment, even if I’m a little slow about it lately. I love chatting about movies with fellow film nerds. You guys are the best!

By the way – I highly recommend Arrival, Nocturnal Animals & Your Name, all of which I saw in the past couple of weeks. What a month for movies! I sometimes watch movies I don’t really care about just because I think they’ll be “bloggable” (especially horrors for October). I need to stop that. Powerful movies such as the above three help remind me why I started this blog in the first place. Quality over quantity from now on! I’m going to scale things way back in 2017 but I plan to still be here next year for a 5th blogiversary. Where else can I go to rave & bitch about films with like-minded people? 🙂

Oh yeah… Guess I better end with a music clip like I usually do on these recaps. Here’s a clip of one of the songs from this year’s Sing Street. I absolutely adored this film! Highly recommend it to all lovers of music from the Eighties. We need more feel-good movies like this to be made.

My Blog’s September 2016 Recap

Happy October, everyone! Starting tomorrow, I’ll be posting only horror reviews & top tens for all of October. I sincerely apologize to all who’ve been leaving comments – I fell weeks behind on answering as September was so busy plus I was ill & not up to blogging for a while. I’ve been preparing my October posts all year long, though, so I’m hoping I’ll have a bit of spare time to actually finally read some blogs through the month. I always enjoy all the horror-related posts so many blogs do through all of October. And I’ll definitely keep up on replying to comments. 🙂

As for my September posts, I didn’t do a lot due to lack of time so it was convenient that someone finally sent me an IMDB Top 250 guest review to post! The review was for The Graduate from Satu of Fairytale Pictures. Thanks again, Satu!

Now let’s do my September recap…

POSTS

My Most Popular Post: My Top Ten Keanu Reeves Movies. Wow! I didn’t realize that Keanu Reeves was so popular. I do these actor top ten lists a lot (because they’re quick & easy posts) and it’s interesting to see the reaction they get. Some get hardly any comments while others go crazy. The Keanu Reeves one had loads of shares & comments here and on Twitter. That’s cool – I’m glad he’s so well liked! I’ve always been a fan.

My Favorite Post: My Top Ten Chocolate Bars. It’s not often that I post about something other than movies, books or music so this was a fun little top ten to throw together. What’s YOUR favorite chocolate bar? (Spoiler: Mine is 3 Musketeers)

MOVIES REVIEWED

My Most Popular Movie Review: The Purge: Election Year. This makes me happy as I think The Purge films are underrated.

I’d also like to mention the movie The Girl With All The Gifts, which I just reviewed a few days ago. Doesn’t seem well known but I really enjoyed it. It’s like 28 Days Later crossed with Warm Bodies and, hmm… World War Z?

All Movies Reviewed (ranked best to worst):
The Girl With All The Gifts
The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
The Purge: Election Year
The Shallows
Sausage Party
San Andreas
Pixels

MOVIES WATCHED

In Cinema (ranked best to worst):
The Girl With All The Gifts
The Purge: Election Year
The Shallows
Sausage Party
Don’t Breathe (I’ll review this next week – I saved it for Horror Month)

At Home (ranked best to worst):
Magic
Song Of The Sea
Kelly & Cal
Ted 2
Baby Boom
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Eleanor’s Secret
Trainwreck
The Scorch Trials

TOP TEN LISTS
Top Ten Keanu Reeves Movies
Top Ten Adam Sandler Movies
Top Ten Patrick Swayze Movies
Top Ten Michael Douglas Movies
Top Ten Chocolate Bars

SEARCH TERMS

My Top Search Term: “Martin Scorsese Fan Art“. Weird – I’m pretty sure I’ve never posted any Martin Scorsese fan art? But I do post a lot of movie fan art & I did a list of My Top Ten Martin Scorsese Movies so I guess that’s why that search term led to my blog. Well, for whoever was looking for it, here’s some cool fan art by artist Scott Campbell for Gangs Of New York (I’ve not seen that movie). You can see this & more Martin Scorsese fan art here: Moviecitizens.com

My Favorite Search Term: I don’t know… Maybe “scary movie panties“. I’m just picturing a horror movie with a pair of scary panties that go around killing people by strangling them. It’s possible – there was that crazy movie Rubber about a car tire (or tyre in the UK) that went around killing people! But I’m assuming that some perv was just looking for photos of girls in panties in horror movies. Hmm. Go watch Aliens, you pervs. Or, yeah, Odd Thomas… That’s the post to blame for all the “panties” searching.

Here are my top search terms for the month:


BOOKS

Books I Reviewed: The End Of The World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker and The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

Book I Finished Reading: 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

Books I Started Reading: In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume (but I got bored with it & started Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel instead, which is great so far)

BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH

October Horror Month!!!

I don’t know why I so look forward to doing horror movie reviews each October. It’s not exactly my favorite genre & there have been sooooo few good horror movies since about 1987. By the end of October, I’m thoroughly sick of doing horror reviews! But they’re usually fun reviews to write (especially when a horror film is bad or silly).

I’ll be having a “Killer Dolls Week” one week in October, in which I’ll review one of my 2016 Blind Spot Movies (Magic). I’ll also kick off & end October with two more Blind Spot reviews as I chose three horror movies for that. I’m planning a week of reviewing films directed by Mike Flanagan (I’ll try to make it to see Ouija: Origin Of Evil), I’m posting two reviews of comedy horror films from New Zealand, and I’ll post top ten lists as usual every Thursday which will of course be horror-themed.

Upcoming Movies:

There aren’t a lot of movies coming out in October that I’m bothered about seeing, which I suppose is good as I won’t have time anyway. 😦

The Girl On The Train comes out this coming week (on the 5th). I love Emily Blunt so I read the book in preparation for the movie but I hated the book so much that I may not bother with the movie now. Damn. You can read my review of the book HERE.

The kid really wants to see Trolls so I’m sure she’ll drag me to that & to Storks. Ouija: Origin Of Evil looks like it could be okay or totally rubbish but I’m going to try to watch it as I’m reviewing three other Mike Flanagan movies in October. Maybe I’ll also watch Doctor Strange if reviews are excellent but I’ve managed to miss every big superhero movie released this year so far that it seems kind of pointless to try to catch up now.

Okay – here are two I just discovered when looking up October releases: What’s Max Steel? Hmm… Could be interesting. And there’s a South Korean zombie movie coming out called Train To Busan?? That sounds like a “me” movie! Bet it shows nowhere near me…

The music clip I’ll end with this month is Cyndi Lauper’s All Through The Night, which features in the movie Kelly & Cal starring Juliette Lewis. I watched this a couple of weeks ago – I really liked it & thought Lewis did a good job. I didn’t like Juliette Lewis when I was younger but I’m finally starting to like her in recent years after loving Whip It & finally seeing Natural Born Killers. And I of course love Cyndi Lauper. 🙂

My Top Ten Keanu Reeves Movies

Happy Birthday to Keanu Reeves, who turns 52 tomorrow! 🙂

Dammit! I’ve not yet managed to watch John Wick. I really wanted to watch that before making this list since, if it’s as good as everyone seems to think it is, maybe it’ll make my top ten. Well, I’ve not had time to watch it so I guess I’ll just have to update this list when I see it. IF it’s top ten worthy… 😉 Oh, and I also desperately want to see The Neon Demon as that looks like the type of thing I could potentially love. Blame that one on cinemas not giving non-mainstream films a chance, though – I couldn’t find it playing anywhere near me. I’d have made time for that.

I’m a fan of Keanu Reeves. I think people either love him or they don’t (I don’t think anyone hates him, though, do they?). People make fun of him sometimes but I don’t understand that. He’s admittedly better in certain types of roles than others but, when it’s a role that suits him, he’s great. Yes, the dumb guy suits him & I’ll always love Ted “Theodore” Logan more than any other character he’s played. Who doesn’t love a sweet idiot?! But I had a massive crush on him in Speed & in Point Break when he was young, dumb & full of “whoaaaa”. He’s proven himself to be a fantastic popcorn action movie star & I’m always happy when he’s in a film that ends up being popular.

Sometimes when I make these actor top tens, I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel for the lower half of the list. This time, I’d have to say I truly like at least eight of them (I could do with re-watching numbers 9 & 10). I love the top six and ADORE the top two (they’re all-time favorites). So, yeah, Keanu Reeves has had a very solid career despite some annoying critics.

So here are My Top Ten Keanu Reeves Movies, counting down to my favorite (movie, not character). Let’s start counting down from the bottom, though – I’ve seen 23…. 🙂

25. The Neon Demon
24 & 23. The Matrix Sequels (Whatever they were called – I’ve tried to forget them)
22. Johnny Mnemonic (Remember nothing about this now. How ironic!)
21. Chain Reaction
20. Something’s Gotta Give
19. The Gift
18. Much Ado About Nothing (Barely remember this either – am sure it deserves to be higher)
17. Parenthood
16. The Day The Earth Stood Still
15. Constantine
14. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
13. The Devil’s Advocate
12. John Wick
11. My Own Private Idaho (Putting this at 11 is a total lie as I seriously need to re-watch it since I loved River Phoenix but, again, barely remember it…) 😉

My Top Ten:

10. A Scanner Darkly

9. River’s Edge

8. The Lake House

7. Youngblood

6. Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey

5. Dangerous Liaisons

4. The Matrix (not the sequels!)

3. Speed

2. Point Break

1. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure

**Updated 5th February 2017 having now seen John Wick & The Neon Demon. Ugh – The Neon Demon most definitely doesn’t make it into the top ten! John Wick was close…

The Matrix (1999) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Chris of Terry Malloy’s Pigeon Coop. Thanks for the review, Chris! 🙂 Now let’s see what he has to say about The Matrix, IMDB rank 18 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list HERE. See the full list & links to all the films that have been reviewed HERE.

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Few films over the past 20 years or so have had as big an impact as The Matrix. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s one of the most important films of all time.

Yeah, I went there.

Some people might not like it, but I don’t think anyone can argue over its cultural significance. It’s a bit like me and The Beatles. I get why they were so big and so important but I actually think much of their music is pretty crap.

I went there again.

The premise of film is that everything we know and see around us is a lie, an artificial reality known as the Matrix created by machines who use our bodies as fuel. Only some people are aware of this and have been freed to live in the ‘real world’, although they are in a constant war against the machines. Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) are freedom fighters of sorts and have recognised Neo (Keanu Reeves) as someone who could fulfil a prophecy and bring peace between the humans and machines.

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It’s a pretty crazy-ass plot and can take a quite a while to get your head around, but what an absolutely phenomenal concept; the kind of idea that only comes along every so often. Think Metropolis, 1984, Blade Runner; an idea so revolutionary that it inspires people to think differently. Not many films do that.

When we first see the ‘real world’ with the scary Giger-esque machines farming thousands upon thousands of humans all sealed away in little pods, it’s simply awe-inspiring and it just gets better and better from there on in.

Just think about it. There are so many standout, memorable and groundbreaking scenes and lines that it’s almost inconceivable they’re all from the same film. The first time we see bullet time; the lobby shootout; the subway fight; the meeting with the Oracle; even the notion that deja-vu is a glitch in the Matrix; all of these are scenes that have since become engrained in cinema’s pop culture, and there are many more besides. You only have to look at how many other films have taken clear inspiration from or have parodied The Matrix to see the effect it’s had.

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It even made Keanu Reeves look like a good actor. That might be slightly unfair but there’s no denying that Reeves was absolutely perfect for the role of Neo, and there have been few cooler moments in cinema seeing Neo kicking ass.

Unfortunately, The Matrix’s legacy has been tainted somewhat by two tremendously disappointing sequels. Both The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were totally unnecessary and whilst they had some fun moments were just far too complicated and self-indulgent. Despite the sequels, The Matrix remains one of the most original, groundbreaking and influential films of all time.

“Darkness” Is Holding Up Bill & Ted 3, Says Keanu Reeves

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This has been going on for years – I don’t think we’re ever going to get a new Bill & Ted film. The following quote from Keanu Reeves when asked about the delay and more information at this link: SlashFilm

It’s a long story. There’s lots of subterfuge and conspiracy theories. There’s a whole thing… I might have to do one of those independent press, conspiracy, other-name kind of [statements] explaining why it hasn’t happened yet, because it’s pretty dark out there.

Also:

Reeves confirmed that “there is [a script],” but added, “There’s all sorts of stuff and it just can’t — it’s just — there’s darkness out there that’s keeping it from happening.” He later continued, “It’s not winning right now. It’s that part of the story where it’s looking grim. It’s the dark period of the idea!”