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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 fox4kc.com. 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 http://www.kcactive.com. 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
  • Does “Annihilation” kill? Does “Game Night” score? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Oscar-winner Natalie Portman joins forces with the director of “Ex Machina” and Jason Bateman returns with another R-rated comedy. Shawn and Russ let us know if there are any tasty kernels in the popcorn bags!   1) ANNIHILATION (R) RUSS The new sci-fi opus “Annihilation” plays like a cerebral blend of “Arrival” and “The Thing.” Natalie Portman stars in this creepy tale of a group of female scientist-soldiers who enter a slowly expanding zone inhabited by an alien […]

  • Is “Fifty Shades Freed” liberating? “Oscar Shorts” too little? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Russ and Shawn are watching out for your pocketbook. Are the latest in the “Fifty Shades” franchise worth your money? Check out their reviews!   1) FIFTY SHADES FREED (R) Universal   RUSS The final chapter in the big screen adaptation of E.L. James’ kinky S&M bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy finally hits theaters this week. Like its predecessors, “Fifty Shades Freed” isn’t bad enough to be campy fun and is about as erotic as a cold […]

  • Does “A Bad Mom’s Christmas” live up to its name? “Only the Brave” heroic? “Suburbicon” superb? Popcorn Bag home video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Is the new DVD of “Bad Mom’s Christmas” a gift that needs to be returned? Russ and Shawn cover the raunchy comedy as well as an action melodrama and a social satire. 1) A BAD MOM’S CHRISTMAS (R) STXfilms RUSS So, how do you follow up the raunchy 2016 comedy hit “Bad Moms?” With “A Bad Mom’s Christmas” of course. The stars are fine, but they deserve better material than the simple, foul-mouthed script provided by the writing/directing team behind “The Hangover.” SHAWN […]

  • Popcorn Bag Black History Month movie suggestions!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — In recognition of Black History Month, here are some movies FOX4 film critics Shawn Edwards and Russ Simmons think are apt viewing choices to commemorate the annual observance. RUSS’ CHOICES: 1) 12 YEARS A SLAVE (R) -2013 Fox Searchlight RUSS “12 Years a Slave” deservedly won the Best Picture Oscar for 2013. Inspired by a true story, it tells the harrowing tale of a free man, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was captured in New York and sent […]

  • Is “Hostiles” heroic? “Maze Runner 3” puzzling? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — Can a revisionist Western or the third entry in the “Maze Runner” saga jump start the box office? Find out as Shawn and Russ cover this week’s movie offerings! 1) HOSTILES (R) Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures RUSS The clichés and stereotypes that populate most Westerns are upended in “Hostiles,” a brutal, challenging and beautifully filmed drama. Christian Bale leads a terrific cast in the story of a war weary Army captain who, in the late 1800s, reluctantly escorts a […]

  • Is “The Snowman” ice cold? “Goodbye Christopher Robin” worth greeting? Popcorn Bag home video reviews!

    1) THE SNOWMAN (R) Universal RUSS With a great cast, bestselling source material and acclaimed filmmakers in command, the serial killer mystery “The Snowman” should have been a solid thriller. Sadly, it’s an icy misfire. SHAWN “The Snowman” isn’t that bad it’s just super boring. RUSS The pace drags and the story is filled with multiple dangling plot threads. “The Snowman” is a frosty fizzle. SHAWN The execution is cold and stiff. Top notch talent is involved and the story is interesting. However, the proceedings are glib. It comes across […]

  • Is “12 Strong” solid? “Call Me by Your Name” worth a shout out? “Phantom Thread” threadbare? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chris Hemsworth plays Leavenworth’s Capt. Mark Nutsch in “12 Strong” and Shawnee Mission South grad Peter Spears produced the acclaimed drama “Call Me by Your Name.” Shawn and Russ cover both films with local connections in this week’s Screening Room!   1) 12 STRONG (R) Warner Brothers   RUSS Chris Hemsworth moves from superhero to war hero in “12 Strong,” a tale inspired by the true story of the Green Beret soldiers who were the first sent into […]

  • Fox 4 Movie Critics to host interactive chat event!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — COME HEAR SHAWN EDWARDS AND RUSS SIMMONS SHARE THEIR STORIES Wednesday, February 21 at 7 PM – 8 PM P.S. inside Hotel Phillips 106 W. 12th Street Kansas city, Missouri 54105 Tickets by Eventbrite — $10 includes a FREE cocktail Join us for a new series, Cocktails & Conversation at P.S. Speakeasy! Hear from notable Kansas City business men and women telling the story of their path to success, over fresh cocktails, under ground and under the radar. Your ticket includes […]

  • Is “It” all that? What about “The Foreigner” and “Marshall?” Popcorn Bag home video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A creepy clown, a foreign agent, and courtroom intrigue are the subjects of three new movies available this week on DVD or for streaming. Shawn and Russ serve as your curators!   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, but it’s also funny and the […]

  • Is “The Post” provocative? “The Commuter” go off the rails? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Filmmaker Steven Spielberg goes in a very different direction than his “Shindler’s List” star, Liam Neeson. Russ and Shawn take on two new movies by these heavy hitters. 1) THE POST (PG-13) 20th Century Fox RUSS One of the year’s most acclaimed movies has finally gotten its Kansas City release. It’s hard to imagine a timelier movie about freedom of the press than “The Post.” Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep star in Steven Spielberg’s riveting drama about the […]

  • Is “Blade Runner 2049” a mere replicant? “Geostorm” a tempest in a teapot? Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Can home video save the reboot of the “Blade Runner” franchise? Russ and Shawn give their take on the highly anticipated sequel and an over-the-top disaster flick.   1) BLADE RUNNER 2049 (R) Warner Brothers RUSS The sequel to the 1982 sci-fi classic “Blade Runner” isn’t merely a replicant. “Blade Runner 2049” is a compelling film noir follow-up that stands on its own. Ryan Gosling is solid as a replicant hunter who has to unravel the mystery of his own life and […]

  • Is “I, Tonya” on thin ice? “Wait for Your Laugh” worth the wait? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Can an ice skating scandal create a thaw at the box office? Check out Russ and Shawn as they cover Tonya Harding’s biopic as well as an acclaimed documentary about a shobiz legend.   1) I, TONYA (R) NEON RUSS One of sports’ strangest stories is vividly captured in the cynical comedy “I, Tonya.” Margot Robbie is terrific as Tonya Harding, the ice skater who, as an accessory to the attack on her fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan, was […]