Circe by Madeline Miller (♦♦♦♦)

Granddaughter of Oceanus, daughter of Titan Helios and sea nymph Perseid, Circe was different from the start. While her siblings discovered their unique gifts very early on and gained their independence—either by claiming their inheritance, like Perses and Aëstes, or by marriage to a wealthy demigod, like Pasiphäe—, Circe remained among her family in the halls of the gods. Her love for young fisherman Glaucus changed everything. Circe used a potion to transform Glaucus into a worthy suitor. Glaucus, seeing his station changed, fell in love with one Circe’s cousins, a sea nymph named Scylla. Out of jealousy, Circe put a potion on Scylla’s bath and, unintendedly, transformed her into a monster. Circe’s confession forced Helios to go to see Zeus, for witchcraft is something that gods fear can tip the balance of power. Zeus declared an eternal banishment for Circe from the halls of the gods to the island of Aiaia.

Exile was not easy but, as Circe learned, it had its advantages; being away f…

Red Riding Hood (♦♦♦)

Valerie (Amanda Seyfried, Mamma Mia) has been in love with Peter since childhood. So she is surprised when her parents (Billy Burke and Virginia Madsen) arrange her marriage to Henry. However, the day that they find out about the engagement, a family tragedy occurs when the wolf, that inhabits the nearby forest, takes Valerie’s sister’s life. To avenge her killing, the village’s men decide to hunt the wolf and kill him, but the wolf takes another life, this time of Henry’s father.

Father Solomon (Gary Oldman, Air Force One) is the villagers’ only hope. When he arrives things get more complicated for he reveals they’re dealing with a werewolf, who likely lives among them. Suspicion makes everyone uneasy, and soon enough, during a blood moon, the monster appears again to claim more lives.

There are great costumes in this movie; Valerie’s red cape looks stunning against the wintery landscape. The only resemblance this film has to the folk tale is when Valerie has a nightmare about her grandmother (Julie Christie, Away from Her). Despite its twisted and surprising ending, this gothic tale confuses rather than provides an alternative version to the story.