• Follow me on:

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
  • Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews: Ghost in the Shell, Gifted and Boss Baby

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Is “Ghost in the Shell” spooky? “Gifted” presentable? “Boss Baby” infantile? Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews!   1) GHOST IN THE SHELL (PG-13) Paramount Scarlett Johansson stars in “Ghost in the Shell,” a big budget live-action adaptation of the classic comic and animated series. The visuals are impressive and the film captures the manga comic’s strange, dark tone of paranoia. But “Ghost in the Shell” is uniquely Japanese. They should have cast it that way. Shawn says, Shawn says the cultural insensitivity […]

  • T.J. Miller of “The Emoji Movie” says KC is one of his favorite places to do stand up comedy

    For a lot of us, emojis are part of our everyday lives and now, they’re getting their own movie. “The Emoji Movie” comes out on Friday, July 28 and Russ Simmons sat down with the star of the film, T.J. Miller, who was more interested in chatting about his ties to the Kansas City area than the movie. Miller, who grew up in Parsons, Kan.,  said his family, including extended relatives, is from southeast Kansas. “I am Kansas through and […]

  • Popcorn Bag movie reviews, including a raunchy comedy, an artsy, indie film & WWII epic

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — Is “Dunkirk” done for? “Girls Trip” worth the journey? “Valerian?” “Maudie?” Popcorn Bag movie reviews! 1) DUNKIRK (PG-13) Warner Brothers “Dunkirk” is an engrossing WWII epic from filmmaker Christopher Nolan about the evacuation of Allied troops from the beaches of northern France. Nolan immerses the audience into the action to provide a visceral, ‘you are there’ experience instead of providing a neat and tidy plot. The three intersecting story threads that go back and forth in time can sometimes be […]

  • Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews: “Kong: Skull Island” and “The Promise”

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Is “Kong: Skull Island” king? “The Promise” fulfilling? Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews! 1) KONG: SKULL ISLAND (PG-13) Universal RUSS I felt like a giddy kid at an old-time Saturday matinée when I saw “Kong: Skull Island.” This action-packed fantasy adventure employs eye-popping special effects to create believably scary creatures and an exotic environment. But, most importantly, it establishes a sense of wonder and the feel of genuine peril. SHAWN Not what you expect and more fun than it should be. Love the throwback […]

  • Chat with the Stars: A Very Sordid Wedding

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The story of an L.A. actor coming out to an eccentric Texas family is the plot of Sordid Lives. Now, 17-years later, it is followed up with ‘A Very Sordid Wedding’, which is being screened Friday, July 14th, at Tivoli Cinemas, and running all week there. Emerson Collins, producer and actor, sat down with film critic/entertainment reporter Russ Simmons to talk about the film.  

  • Is “War for the Planet of the Apes” monkey business? “Wish Upon” everything you’d wish for? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo—   1) WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (PG-13) 20th Century Fox   RUSS It may seem absurd, but I’m not monkeying around. The franchise update of “The Planet of the Apes” series that began in 2011 may be the best Hollywood franchise reboot ever. The third installment, “War for the Planet of the Apes,” is a visually spectacular and riveting drama.   SHAWN Naw, you are not monkeying around and you are absolute correct on every level. […]

  • Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews: Average ratings for F8 of the Furious, Lost City of Z and Smurfs 3

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — “F8 of the Furious” ludicrous? “Lost City of Z” worth finding? “Smurfs 3” leave you blue? Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews! 1) THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS (PG-13) Universal RUSS The “The Fast and the Furious” franchise has morphed into an over-the-top sci-fi action extravaganza that makes James Bond adventures seem like documentaries by comparison. In “The Fate of the Furious,” Vin Diesel’s Dom Torretto has gone rouge, joining forces with villain Charlize Theron in an attempt to steal nuclear codes and take over the world. It’s all an excuse […]

  • Spider-Man Homecoming & The Big Sick: Two very different movies, both with good reviews

    KANSAS CITY. Mo — Is the third time the charm for “Spider-Man: Homecoming?” “The Big Sick” ailing? Popcorn Bag movie reviews! 1) SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (PG-13) Sony Pictures RUSS Okay, so just who needs another reboot of the Spider-Man franchise? Well, I guess we do since “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is arguably the best Spider-Man movie, yet. Tom Holland is the new Peter Parker, an awkward high school nerd who tries to become a member of The Avengers. The movie is well over two hours long, but […]

  • Is “The Zookeeper’s Wife” tame? Popcorn Bag Home Video review!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. —   1) THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE (PG-13) Focus Features   The WWII era drama “The Zookeeper’s Wife” tells the compelling true story of Antonia Żabiński who, along with her husband Jan, saved many Jews during the Nazi occupation of Poland. Jessica Chastain plays Antonia and Belgian actor Johan Heldenbergh plays her husband Jan, two zooolgists who used their positions at the Warsaw Zoo to smuggle Jews out of the nearby ghetto, secretly board them for months at a time and […]

  • Take your pick: “Baby Driver”-“Despicable Me 3”-“The Beguiled”-and “The Hero” Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Is “Baby Driver” infantile? “Despicable Me 3” criminal? “The Beguiled” beguiling? “The Hero” heroic? Popcorn Bag movie reviews! 1) BABY DRIVER (R) Sony Decadent, violent, profane…and wildly entertaining, “Baby Driver” is a zippy heist film fueled by a kinetic soundtrack that should appeal to both Baby Boomers and Millennials. Ansel Elgort plays a skilled getaway driver who uses music to help him concentrate and overcome tinnitus. Things get sticky when he crosses his fellow thieves, played by […]

  • “Jaws” is back to take a bite of your July 4th weekend.

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — JAWS Is Back For the 4th of July. This Saturday evening, July 1st, local Kansas City film critic and author Michael Smith will be hosting a rare 35mm film presentation of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 summer blockbuster JAWS. The screening will be held at the Alamo Drafthouse Theatre, 1400 Main Street and will begin at 1030 p.m.  Prior to the show Smith, a long time fan of the film and author of the book “JAWS 2: The […]

  • Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews: Power Rangers, CHiPS and T2 Trainspotting

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Is “Power Rangers” powerful? “CHiPS” road worthy? “T2 Trainspotting” spot on? FOX 4’s Shawn Edwards shares what he and Russ Simmons thought in this week’s Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews! 1) SABAN’S POWER RANGERS (PG-13) Lionsgate SHAWN Tailor-made for fans. Not so much for everyone else. SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags   2) CHIPS (R) Warner Brothers SHAWN Perhaps the worst movie of the year so far. Juvenile jokes, elementary story and tepid acting. And those are the best things about this […]