As much time and money and effort as Hollywood pours into big-budget franchises, only a handful manage to make a real lasting impression on moviegoers. But the best of them live on long after the last installment has hit theaters, and one that falls into that category is Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter series.

From 2001 to 2011, the studio released eight films based on J.K. Rowling‘s books. Collectively, they’re are one of the most successful cinematic series of time by any standard — critically, commercially, culturally. Even now, after all the cast and crew have moved onto other projects, fans still harbor a deep affection for the Boy Who Lived.

In tribute to the beloved fantasy saga, Kees Van Dijkhuizen Jr. has edited together a gorgeous thirteen-minute retrospective titled “Mischief Managed.” Hit the jump to watch his video, and be warned that you may get a lump in your throat once John Williams‘ iconic theme kicks in.

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With awards season in full force, it seems like each week brings a fresh set of winners from the various guilds, societies, associations, and what have you. This past weekend saw both the International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood’s Annie Awards and the Art Directors Guild Awards, with Rango, Hugo, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo emerging as the big winners. Check out the list of winners after the jump.

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By now you’ve probably seen dozens of critics’ best-of-2011 lists (including ours!), and noticed some amount of overlap on films like Hugo, Drive, and Tree of Life. But there’s more than one way to gauge a movie’s success, and when it comes to what general audiences are actually watching, a whole different set of titles come out on top.

According to a report just released by Redbox, the Adam Sandler vehicle Just Go With It was the most rented title at its bright red kiosks in 2011, ahead of several other comedies including No Strings Attached, Rango, and The Dilemma. Meanwhile, Fast Five leads the list of the most pirated movies of the year, followed by The Hangover Part II, Thor, and Source Code. Read both lists after the jump.

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Roger Ebert’s Top 20 Movies of 2011


With just days to go until the end of 2011 (Where did the year go???), legendary film critic Roger Ebert has announced his top 20 movies of the year. Just as you’d expect from Ebert, his list runs the gamut from mainstream blockbusters to more obscure foreign or arthouse projects — with enough in the latter category to offer up some useful suggestions for your Netflix queue. Read his list after the jump.

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If you’re the kind of person who got all emotional during all those Harry Potter cast interviews about shooting the final scene, or if you referred to the last movie, without irony,  as “the end of an era,” then When Harry Left Hogwarts is for you. The documentary, by BAFTA-winning filmmaker Morgan Matthews (The Fallen), chronicles the making of David YatesHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Part 2, and will make you get teary-eyed all over again as cast members talk about what it’s been like to be part of the franchise for the past ten years. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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Fake Criterion covers have become a pretty popular form of fan art as of late. Design-inclined cinephiles have fake-Criterioned everything from Orson Welles’ Macbeth to a French version of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle to Kickpuncher (which is itself a fake movie), and it’s no wonder why. Criterion DVDs often get the kind of cool, artsy covers you would never find on ‘normal’ DVDs, which usually opt for something more tame and immediately recognizable.

The latest property to get the fake-Criterion treatment is the Harry Potter film series, which concludes this weekend with the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Cooper Union graduate Patrick Sullivan created this stunning collection for his student portfolio, and it saddens me to know they’ll never actually be used. Flip through his cover collection after the jump.

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Though the book series has long since ended, and there’s only one month to go until the eight-part film series closes as well, fans who have been mourning the end of the Harry Potter franchise can perk up again. A mysterious new website called Pottermore.com suggests that we may be getting, yes, more Potter sometime in the future — though in what capacity we’ll be getting more Potter is not yet quite clear. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling launched the cryptic website yesterday, one month ahead of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2‘s July release. Read more after the jump.

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Here’s the very final trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the last movie in Warner Bros. long-running Harry Potter series. You can see the trailer in front of Green Lantern this weekend, but we’ve got it online now for your enjoyment. Check it out after the break, but for those who haven’t read the books, be aware that some spoilers may be in store. Read More »

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