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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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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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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50 Movie Spoilers of 2010 in 3 Minutes

Our friends the Fine Brothers have filed the latest episode of their popular “Spoiler” series — 50 Movie Spoilers of 2010 in 3 Minutes, in one take. You might remember that we’ve featured their videos 50 Christmas Movie Spoilers in 3 Minutes100 Movie Spoilers in 4 minutes, Spoiling Every Best Picture Winner in Oscar History, 50 spoilers of 2009 in 4 minutes, 100 Horror Movie Spoilers in 5 Minutes, 50 Disney Spoilers in 3 Minutes and 50 Comedy Spoilers in 3 Minutes.  Hit the jump to watch their latest. And if it isn’t completely obvious already, please be warned that the following video contains spoilers.

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