Welcome to Me

three stars

Dir: Shira Piven

With: Kristen Wiig, Tim Robbins

Runtime: 87 minutes

THERE are some comedies so dark you need a torch and the cheeriest, stoutest of hearts to light a way through them. Welcome to Me is such a comedy. Kristen Wiig plays Alice, a young woman with mental health problems and a daytime television obsession. Alice has decided to come off her medication and shortly after wins big on the state lottery. She can do anything she wants, so why not buy her own daytime TV show? With Will Ferrell and Adam McKay (Anchorman) producing, and a supporting cast that includes James Marsden and Tim Robbins, Shira Piven's picture is scalpel sharp and does not so much push the envelope as put it in the shredder, so be warned. It takes a soaring talent to pull off the part of Alice, and Wiig is the perfect fit.

Tonight, 20.45, Cineworld

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

three stars

Dir: Marielle Heller

With: Bel Powley, Kristen Wiig

Runtime: 102 minutes

THE Wiig woman is back, but this time in a supporting role. The central star of this comedy drama is Bel Powley, who plays Minnie, a high school student growing up in San Francisco in the Seventies, flares and all. Minnie's mother (Kristen Wiig) is a freewheeling, partying kind of parent, so little wonder that Minnie, largely left to her own devices to muddle through adolescence, makes some spectacularly bad choices. There are lots of lovely touches, including animated sequences (the film is based on a graphic novel) and Powley is terrific - funny and wise beyond her years. But Marielle Heller faces a tough task to find the right tone for this coming of age picture and doesn't always manage it.

Tonight, 18.10, Cineworld

Last Days in the Desert

four stars

Dir: Rodrigo Garcia

With: Ewan McGregor, Ciaran Hinds

Runtime: 100 minutes

BETWEEN this religious drama and the recent crime thriller Son of a Gun, Ewan McGregor is making some distinctive career choices, and it suits him. Here, the Trainspotting star takes on the ultimate role - Jesus. The son of God is coming to the end of his days in the wilderness. Heading back to Jerusalem he meets a family (led by Ciaran HInds) riven by division and illness. The mother is dying, the son wants to abandon the desert and live in a town, and the father is disappointed in him. Though burdened with doubt about his own place in the world, Jesus resolves to help the family and in so doing hopes to discover more about his calling. The cinematographer is Emmanuel Lubezki, who brings the same brilliant eye to bear on Rodrigo Garcia's picture as he did with Gravity and Birdman. The desert setting is stunning throughout, and though there is a fair bit of trudging through the sand and gazing towards the horizon to endure at the start, Garcia's haunting, contemplative picture eventually draws one in and does not let go.