Back to the Movies

Action, adventure and amore returning to silver screens near you this summer

There’s no better place to beat the summer heat than to steal away to your local movie theater to catch the latest box office hit or future cult classic. And now that pandemic guidelines about social distancing are becoming all but a faded memory, we can finally return to our favorite cinema houses from Virginia Beach to Williamsburg and beyond to enjoy the catharsis that only a good tear-jerker or adrenaline-inducing film can provide. So, ask for extra butter on your popcorn, find the perfect seat and get ready for these highly anticipated new releases coming out this summer:


Downton Abbey: A New Era

Based on the British historical television drama of an aristocratic family set in the early 20th century. The Crawley family departs from their country estate, Downton Abbey, to uncover the mysteries of their matriarch’s newly inherited villa in the south of France.


Crimes of the Future

The next phase of human evolution begins as humankind learns to adapt to a synthetic environment and mutations begin to develop. Directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux and Kristen Stewart.


Jurassic World Dominion

The dinosaurs are back, and so are Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum. After the Isla Nublar, the future of mankind hangs in a precarious balance as humans and Jurassic juggernauts compete for supremacy to determine who gets to remain at the top of the food chain.



The prequel that provides an origin story for our animated hero Buzz Lightyear. On his first test flight for Star Command, Buzz is launched 62 years into the future and must find a way to return home. Chris Evans steps in for Tim Allen in this chapter as the voice of Buzz.


Top Gun: Maverick

There are highly anticipated summer sequels and then there’s this one, which brings back most of the cast of the ’80s classic action film focused on daredevil Navy pilots—a subject close to home in Coastal Virginia. The reboot has gotten rave reviews…even a standing ovation at Cannes.



A new biopic on the King, starring Austin Butler as Elvis Presley, Olivia DeJonge as Pricilla and Tom Hanks and Colonel Tom Parker. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the movie follows Elvis’s rise to stardom in the 1950s while maintaining a complex relationship with his manager.


Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

A shell (voiced by Jenny Slate) that was once part of a sprawling community and now lives only with his grandmother Connie (voiced by Isabella Rossellini) goes on a journey to find his lost family after achieving fame in a documentary.The Black Phone

A 13-year-old boy who is abducted by a sadistic, masked killer (Ethan Hawke) and locked in a soundproof room, finds allies in past victims who use a disconnected phone in the cell to make sure that what happened to them doesn’t happen to him.


Minions: The Rise of Gru

Gru gets by with a little help from his little friends. The prequel to the Despicable Me series tells the story of how Gru began his life as the world’s greatest supervillain and the unlikely person who comes to his aid.


Thor: Love and Thunder

Sam Neill makes another appearance this summer in the sequel to Thor: Ragnoark where our hero comes out of retirement to team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy to stop a galactic killer who seeks the extinction of all gods.


Where the Crawdads Sing

Adapted from the hit novel by Delia Owens, Daisy Edgar-Jones stars a woman who raised herself in the marshes of North Carolina and becomes a suspect in the murder of a man she was once involved with.



Written and directed by Jordan Peele, Nope is a scary tale about caretakers at a California horse ranch that encounter a mysterious force. Also starring Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun and Michael Wincott.


Bullet Train

Sandra Bullock is back on a speeding vehicle, but this time it’s a bullet train in Japan with Brad Pitt. Five assassins on a high-speed train trip from Tokyo to Morioka with few stops in between discover that their missions all have a common thread.

A Summer of Classics at the NARO

If you’re more in the mood for oldies but goodies, The NARO Expanded Cinema in Norfolk will be showcasing a series of legendary Hollywood films as a tribute to Mal Vincent, film critic for The Virginian-Pilot for more than a half a century, who passed away last November at the age of 83.

As a part of their Festival of Summer Classics in July and August, they’ll be showing titles like East Side West Side, Dr. Strangelove, The Great Escape, Sunset Boulevard, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Born Yesterday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

For a full listing of times and dates, visit

Barrett Baker
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