When Warner Brothers absorbed the 40-year-old (sorta, kinda, at times) independent label New Line Cinema back in late February, it was inevitable that certain "redundancies" were going to be eliminated. But who could have guessed the company would ax both of its boutique labels, New Line's Picturehouse and its own Warner Independent Pictures? Apparently confident that New Line and Warner Brothers can handle movies of all shapes and sizes, the company decided to shutter Picturehouse and WIP, both nascent divisions that had always struggled to find their footing the pseudo-independent marketplace. How much of an effect this will have on the flow of movies into arthouse cinemas remains to be seen, but in the meantime, let's celebrate the highlights: Over the course of its three-year existence, Picturehouse gave us A Prairie Home Companion, The Orphanage, The King Of Kong, Pan's Labyrinth, and Tristram Shandy: A Cock And Bull Story, among others. From the five-year old Warner Independent, we got Before Sunset, A Very Long Engagement, Good Night and Good Luck, March Of The Penguins, A Scanner Darkly, The Science Of Sleep, and Funny Games. So thanks for those, at least.
In other depressing movie news, it appears that a lot of excellent movie bloggers are disappearing as quickly as their journalist counterparts. Former New York Press and New York Times critic Matt Zoller Seitz has decided to hang up the skates after years as one of the brightest and most insightful film writers around, but his thriving blog, The House Next Door, will soldier on under editor Keith Uhlich. An air of uncertainty surrounds the departure of longtime Premiere film critic Glenn Kenny, who survived the magazine's retreat to an online-only endeavor, but got news from the higher-ups that his fine Premiere-affliated blog, In The Company Of Glenn, would not longer merit a paycheck. On the plus side, retired Chicago Reader critic Jonathan Rosenbaum has a new home on the web, but the main attraction currently are archived reviews stretching all the way back to August 1987. Best of luck to all three men in an ever-evolving (or is it devolving?) climate.