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Russ Simmons is an award-winning film critic whose work has been featured on television, in print and on the internet for nearly two decades.

Russ joined Shawn Edwards in Fox 4’s Screening Room in 2005. Since that time, he and Shawn have won the National Entertainment Journalism Award twice as “Best Television Film Critics,” awarded by the Los Angeles Press Club.

Simmons’ reviews can be seen on the “Screening Room” which airs regularly on Fox 4 News and archived at He also has a film review segment on KKFI-FM called “Freeze Frame” that airs several times per week, and appears regularly on Central Standard on KCUR-FM.

Simmons’ work has been featured in “The View,”” The New Times,””The Pitch,””eKC,” “The Sun” and Simmons also worked for three years at the Sundance Institute’s Summer Theatre program. Along with Shawn Edwards, Simmons appeared on the Reelz Channel’s “Critics’ Choice Special.”

He is on the governing board of the Kansas City Film Critics’ Circle, one of the oldest associations of its kind in the country. Simmons is also an active member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, responsible for the yearly “Critics’ Choice Awards” which airs on A&E.

Recent Articles
  • Is the new “Lego” movie blockheaded? “Kingsman” sequel regal? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — Shawn and Russ are definitely not on the same page this week. Before you decide which movie to see this week, check out their very different perspectives!   1) THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE (PG) Warner Brothers   RUSS Is the third time the charm for Lego’s animated franchise? Well, even though the novelty is wearing a bit thin, “The Lego Ninjago Movie” is, for the most part, cheeky, colorful fun.   SHAWN There is a playfulness that cannot […]

  • Is “American Assassin” a killer? Does “mother!” deliver? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — Are the highly anticipated big screen arrival of Vince Flynn’s anti-hero Mitch Rapp and Jennifer Lawrence’s bizarre arthouse horror entry worth your time and money? Don’t forget to check out these reviews by Shawn and Russ before you spend your money! 1) AMERICAN ASSASSIN (R) Lionsgate/CBS Films SHAWN “American Assassin” is a sprawling mess. It’s intentions are good but never supported by anything other than basic level filmmaking. The movie is severely light on plot and overly heavy […]

  • Is “Wonder Woman” whip smart? “The Big Sick” a healthy choice? Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Can a Lawrence, Kansas woman make a big hit movie? Can a romantic comic drama about a mixed marriage carry the day? Do three aging stars still have what it takes to create cinematic sparks? Find out in today’s Screening Room Home Video edition!   1) WONDER WOMAN (PG-13) Warner Brothers   SHAWN “Wonder Woman’ is fantastic. This D.C. Comic property works because it plays like the best of the Marvel movies. Gal Godot is perfectly cast. While […]

  • Is “It” all that? “Home Again” worth the trip? “Crown Heights” regal? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Does a creepy clown have what it takes to ignite a dormant box office? If not a clown, how about Reese Witherspoon? Watch Shawn and Russ to see if this weekend’s movies will draw you in.   1) IT (R) Warner Brothers   RUSS No clowning around, “It” is up there with “Stand By Me” and “The Shawshank Redemption” as one of the best big screen adaptations of a work by Steven King. Yes, it’s scary and gory, […]

  • Is “Rough Night” aptly titled? “Megan Leavey” a dog? “Paris Can Wait?” “All Eyez on Me?” Popcorn Bag Home Video review!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — A bawdy comedy, a tale of a heroic Marine, a romantic road trip and a rap biography are all new for your home video viewing. Don’t miss Shawn and Russ as they give this week’s DVD breakdown!   1) ROUGH NIGHT (R) Columbia Pictures RUSS The raunchy ‘girls gone wild’ comedy “Rough Night” wastes a talented cast on an effort that tries to be the female equivalent of “The Hangover.”  There are some bawdy laughs, but not enough […]

  • Is “Patti Cake$” money? “I Do…Until I Don’t” promising? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Can a rap movie and a raunchy rom-com help revive the stagnant box office as the summer movie season ends? Don’t spend your money until you watch Shawn and Russ as they hand out the popcorn bags!   1) PATTI CAKE$ (R) Fox Searchlight RUSS A white, plus-sized female rapper from a depressed New Jersey suburb may be the most unlikely movie lead of the year. In “Patti Cake$,” Australian actress Danielle Macdonald plays a young woman derisively […]

  • Two Film Fests add to KC’s Labor Day celebrations

    KANSAS CITY, Mo —   The Kansas City Irish Festival has announced the inaugural edition of the Kansas City Irish Film Festival, curated by KC-based film production company Elk’s Pride Pictures and sponsored by Musical Theater Heritage.  Mr. Matthew Dunehoo of Elk’s Pride was approached with the idea of curating a festival of films by Ronan Collins, who is responsible for programming the comedy component of the fest.   The mix of short and feature films programmed herein vary by genre, but are all similar in that they each either have themes […]

  • Does “Leap!” reach new heights? “Ingrid Goes West” directionless? “Good Time” timely? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Do this week’s movies revive a sluggish summer at the box office? Don’t miss Shawn and Russ as they give the 411 on the latest releases! 1) LEAP! (PG) The Weinstein Company RUSS In spite of its title, the animated dance movie “Leap!” doesn’t take any chances. In 1800s France, a young girl escaped from an orphanage and headed to Paris with dreams of becoming a ballerina. SHAWN “Leap” is non-threatening and non-offensive entertainment. It’s basically the stuff […]

  • “Guardians 2” out of this world? “Chuck” a knockout? Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Is Star Lord Chris Pratt still a star? Shawn and Russ let us know what’s up with the sequel to “Guardians of the Galaxy.” 1) GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, VOL. 2 (PG-13) Walt Disney Pictures RUSS When Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” landed in theaters in 2014, it hit pay dirt. That funny, offbeat and unfamiliar comic book adaptation made a star out of star lord Chris Pratt. While “Vol. 2” isn’t quite as successful, it is still […]

  • “Hitman’s Bodyguard” worth hitting? “Logan Lucky” fortuitous? “Brigsby Bear” bearable? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Is “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” worth hitting? “Logan Lucky” fortuitous? “Brigsby Bear” bearable? If you want to know which new movies are worth your time at local theaters, don’t miss Shawn and Russ’ Popcorn Bag reviews!   1) THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD (R) Summit Entertainment   RUSS Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, two extremely likable actors, give a big boost to “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” an overlong and violent action comedy about a protection agent escorting a hired killer to […]

  • “Alien Covenant” promising? “Everything, Everything” all that? Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — The latest prequel to the “Alien” franchise and an adaptation of a popular teen novel have arrived for home viewing. Check Russ & Shawn and their video review before spending your hard earned money! 1) ALIEN COVENANT (R) 20th Century Fox RUSS While Ridley Scott’s newest “Alien” prequel “Alien: Covenant” doesn’t add much that’s new, it does fill in the blanks. We now know where the creatures came from. Fans of the franchise should enjoy the action and mayhem […]

  • ‘The Glass Castle’-‘Step’-‘Annabelle: Creation’-Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A bestseller leaps to the big screen and teens leap to the dance floor. Don’t miss Shawn and Russ as they give the 411 on these movies and the latest in the “Conjuring” horror franchise! 1) THE GLASS CASTLE (PG-13) Lionsgate RUSS Oscar-winner Brie Larson stars in the big screen adaptation of Jeannette Walls’s best-selling memoir “The Glass Castle,” about her difficult upbringing in a family run by two oddball parents. Larson is fine as the adult Jeannette, […]