The Iris’ 30 Best Films of 2014: Part Two– 15 to 1

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Following the first 15 films in our countdown yesterday, we now bring you our favourite 15 films of 2014…

15. Fury

Fury is quite unlike any war film you have ever seen before, and is quite simply one of the most emotionally shaking films of the past decade. It gives audiences a taste of what is might have been like to be part of a tank crew during WWII, with thrilling action sequences and strong characters making it utterly immersive for its entire running time. Director David Ayer has presented an unflinching portrayal of war that will not quickly leave your mind. The film ends on an incredibly moving note, suggesting that the true horrors of war are those that the soldiers face once the shooting stops and they are forced to confront the silence. – Alex King

14. Nebraska

As a black and white American road movie, Nebraska immediately conjures up images of Jim Jarmusch in my mind. But Nebraska replaces Jarmusch’s coolness with a warmth and touching portrayal of a long suffering son and wife putting up with a long suffering and bitter father and husband. The performances are first rate, and at times you forget you are watching a film. Nebraska is a touching portrayal of ordinary people looking out for each other. – Jonathan Armstrong

13. Predestination

The must-see Australian film of the year, which the Director himself – Michael Spierig – probably sums up best:  “If you go to the cinema looking for something new, something you haven’t seen before then that’s definitely this film. If you like a bit of a mind bender, a bit of a think, if you’re looking for a film with some unique and interesting performances then I think this film might be right up your alley.”

12. 12 Years a Slave

…this is a one of the year’s best films that will capture your attention, move you emotionally and will remain a “must watch” for decades to come. – Reuben Young

11. Only Lovers Left Alive

I have no interest in Vampire films these days, since it seems that every one that is released these days is nothing more than a tedious battle between vampires and werewolves plus, more often than not, a shameless excuse to show off Taylor Lautner’s abs. Having this expectation, I watched Only Lovers Left Alive reluctantly, and I couldn’t have been more delighted to have been so wrong. Only Lovers Left Alive is not so much of a vampire flick as it is a love story – and highly intelligent, subtle and moving one at that. I loved the music, the sombre and understated mood, and the portrayal of future technology. Most of all, I loved the degree to which the director and actors all underplay the movie, which made my discovery of it all the more delightful. – Jonathan Armstrong

10. Whiplash

Regardless of whether or not you’re a jazz music fan, ‘Whiplash’ proves relatable to anyone who has strived for excellence and paid the cost of its inflated demand. A cinematic punch to the gut, this film deserves to be seen for J.K. Simmons’ terrifying performance alone – one that all but guarantees himself an Oscar nod come early 2015. – Peter Gray

9. Inside Llewyn Davis

The latest Coen Brothers film left its mark on our writers – helps that most of us are avid music fans too… but ultimately the raw portrait of the artist played by Oscar Isaac was a beautiful, compelling one – full of fantastic performances, and typically strong writing and directing from the pair. – Larry Heath

8. The Wolf of Wall Street

Like Citizen Kane before it (at least in my books), I feel Wolf of Wall Street equates itself as the very definition of the cinematic experience. Pure, unadulterated, unapologetic escapism. It takes us to a less seen world and amplifies it to new extremes and new heights of elitist depravity. Beautifully shot and accompanied by an incredible soundtrack, laden with classic blues, a superb cast and infallible direction, Wolf of Wall Street is surely destined to be a classic of modern cinema. This is Scorsese – and DiCaprio for that matter – at his best. – Larry Heath

7. Her

Such a clever, yet sweet film carried by the sensitive performance of Joaquin Phoenix and the wondrous voice of Scarlett Johansson. Together they let you suspend belief and truly embrace the idea that a man and his operating system have fallen in love. I loved the way the film managed to take this slightly sci-fi premise and ground it in relatable human emotion. – Kimberley Veart

6. Interstellar

Sure, it’s a bit too hard to keep up with all the high-strung, often ridiculous technobabble that goes down here, but Interstellar is a mammoth achievement when we’re talking about pure spectacle. The sci-fi epic is best seen on the biggest screen possible, especially when we are treated to marvelous imagery from alternate universes. My favourite bit is how full circle the story is, and how unexpected the ending is. If you hated TV shows like Lost, chances are you hated this. But if you hated TV shows like Lost then F**k you. – Chris Singh

5. Boyhood

Ellar Coltrone has now gone through something no other person in the world has. Since a VERY young age he has been the lead actor in a film across 12 years. That’s an incredible feat, sustaining a movie for that long and having enough faith that it will all work in the end; and it has. It’s a very long movie, a very emotionally rewarding one, and it’s something that is completely unforgettable. It’s an added bonus that all actors involved came together to make Boyhood much more than the idea behind it. – Chris Singh

4. The Lego Movie

“Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team” …. not gonna lie that song was such a horrific earworm for me this year but it accompanied one of the best films of the year. Period. This film had it all, drama, action, comedy, a love story, a schizophrenic unicorn-horned-kitten and some brilliant voice cameos. This was a great family film, it revitalised in adults the nostalgia of Lego and for kids it was a fun movie to watch. – Carina Nilma

3. Guardians of the Galaxy

There’s no denying the unstoppable juggernaut that is Marvel Studios, and there was an astounding amount of pressure riding on this film. Expectations were mixed though erring on high, and the majority of the wider public had little to no clue who these “Guardians” were. Director James Gunn managed to take us on a fantastical journey with his sci-fi rock opera comedy drama action film that made us fall in love with a rag-tag group of misfits who evolve into heroes. Along with some stunning visuals and a wicked retro soundtrack, there’s a reason why this was one of the highest grossing films of the year. – Carina Nilma

2. Gone Girl

Gone Girl was well scripted, acted and directed. David Fincher proved why he’s one of the best in the business. Even though I’d read the book I was still on the edge of my seat, and enthralled by Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck as the troubled couple at the centre of it all. – Amy Nancarrow

1. The Grand Budapest Hotel

The stylish visuals in this film were just mind-blowing; so clever, creative and so very Wes Anderson. Ralph Fiennes put in a fantastic performance too, creating an endearing, distinctive and memorable character of the concierge Gustave. – Kimberley Veart