The Iris’ 30 Best Films of 2014: Part One – 30 to 16

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It’s that time again when we look back at the year of film. Here now are the first 15 films that make up our 30 favourite films of 2014. Films eligble for this list were ones released in Australian Cinemas between 1st January and 31st December, 2014:

30. The Mule

A strong script, excellent performances, stellar score and superb cinematography made The Mule a sound effort, with Angus Sampson and Tony Mahony proving themselves great Directors. Just don’t go into it on a full stomach! – Larry Heath

29. Nightcrawler

28. Pride

This is the feel-good movie of the year. It was warm and touching, funny and serious. You will laugh out loud and you may even shed a tear or two. It’s a wonderful, gorgeous movie that I would recommend to anyone. – Sue-Ellen Lee

27. The Babadook

The film is written and directed by Jennifer Kent and is really a well-paced film, engaging, saddening and incredibly eerie. The Babadook is honestly a triumph for Australian cinema. The horror genre is booming in this nation and with films as beautifully written, shot and performed as this, there is no stopping what Australians can do, reinvigorating and breathing new life into the genre. – Penny Spirou

26. Big Hero 6

This is a Disney film that sings with Pixar charm. What does that mean? Well, it’s a film that children will fall in love with and adults won’t be able to look away from. There’s great voice acting, a strong script and as many jokes for the adults as there are for the kids. And there is a heart that pulses through every scene that makes it irresistible…. Big Hero 6 is one of the finest and most entertaining animated films I’ve seen in years. – Larry Heath

25. The Skeleton Twins

24. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The entire film is shot with an adventurous spirit, taking even the darkest scenes and sprucing them up with jaw-dropping, colorful visuals that really prod at your curiosity and inspire you to look past “Dawn” as just a blockbuster movie and view it as the work of art that it is. – Chris Singh

23. Edge Of Tomorrow

Tom Cruise haters be damned, I loved this movie. Adapted from the Japanese graphic novel “All You Need Is Kill” this film managed to combine just the right mix of sci-fi, time travel, and action with a tiny dash of comedy to make it such a fantastic rollercoaster fun ride to watch. It’s fast-paced and visually intense and the exoskeleton battlesuits look amazing. And even if you don’t like Tom Cruise, at least you get to watch his character die over, and over, and over, and over again. – Carina Nilma

22. Calvary

Though the film didn’t stick with me quite as much as The Guard, its spiritual follow up (the second in Director John Michael McDonagh’s “Glorified Suicide Trilogy”) Calvary was nonetheless a powerful, provocative film. Brendan Gleeson is at his best as the good-natured Priest, and the film’s penultimate sequence is incredibly compelling – not to mention well set up. With stunning cinematography, and solid script and great performances all around, this is easily one of the year’s best films. – Larry Heath

21. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Days of Future Past continues that spark in quality storytelling, raising the bar even higher than the excellent First Class and reaffirming Bryan Singer as a true champion of the X-Men film adaptations. And with the ominous post-credit look into what could possibly be in store for X Men: Apocalypse in 2016, things are look very bright for this colourful, intelligent, and entertaining franchise. – Chris Singh

20. Chef

This unusual blend of drama, documentary and feel good flick is mouth-watering and heart-warming. John Favreau nails it both in the director’s chair and the driver’s seat of this food truck tale. – Meredith McLean

19. The Infinite Man

In many respects, The Infinite Man is a low budget masterpiece. A prime example of a clever, high concept film, that was able to fit the constraints of its budget and deliver an intelligent, terrifically entertaining and ingeniously orchestrated narrative. It’s destined to be a cult classic. Here’s hoping it gets itself the audience it rightly deserves. – Larry Heath

18. Saving Mr Banks

For those of us who are Disney fans, and for anybody who adores Mary Poppins this is definitely a film worth watching. Personally I love seeing films or documentaries about how things were made or how they came to be. I never knew much about P.L. Travers and even though this does gloss over the fact that she hated Disney’s final product, it’s nice to see how it came to eventuate regardless. Just be prepared to shed a few tears. – Carina Nilma

17. Godzilla

Godzilla delivers on its promise to redeem the franchise after so many remakes have left the tale reeling towards ‘dead horse’ status. For that, Gareth Edwards deserves his moment of glory. – Chris Singh

16. Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto are both absolutely outstanding; both deliver career best, utterly transformative performances, worthy for all of the praise they’ve received (including the Oscars no less!) and then some. – Alexandra Donald

Stay tuned for part two of our list as we count down our 15 favourite films of the year…