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
  • promo301332186

    Does “Jack Reacher 2” overreach? “Denial” acceptable? “Ouija 2,” “The Joneses” and “Medea,” too! Popcorn Bag Movie Reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Does “Jack Reacher 2” overreach? “Denial” acceptable? “Ouija 2,” “The Joneses” and “Medea,” too! FOX 4’s Russ Simmons takes you inside the screening room for the latest Popcorn Bag Movie Reviews!   1) JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK (PG-13) Paramount RUSS “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” could be described as “’The Last Samurai’ with a Pistol.” While it has a sufficient action quotient for undemanding genre fans, this modest Tom Cruise thriller is mostly boilerplate fare. Tom seems to […]

  • promo301249489

    Chat with the Stars: Tom Cruise as a director?

    Tom Cruise fans wanted FOX 4 film critic Russ Simmons to ask Cruise when he’s going to step behind the camera and direct a feature film.  Is his answer what you expected.  

  • promo301071887

    Is “Independence Day 2” worth celebrating? Is “Alice 2” magical? and more Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Is “Independence Day 2” worth celebrating? Is “Alice 2” magical? Does “Cafe Society” have taste? Does “Our Kind of Traitor” double-cross? FOX 4’s Russ Simmons and Shawn Edwards share their thoughts in this week’s Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews!   1) INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE (PG-13) 20th Century Fox RUSS “Independence Day: Resurgence” is a sequel to Will Smith’s 1996 hit sci-fi epic. SHAWN No Will Smith. End of story. This sequel never had a chance. RUSS Although the aliens have returned, Will Smith has not. Will […]

  • promo300722327

    Does “The Accountant” add up? “American Honey” sweet? “Kevin Hart: What Now?” have heart? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Does “The Accountant” add up? “American Honey” sweet? “Kevin Hart: What Now?” have heart? FOX 4’s Russ Simmons and Shawn Edwards have your answers in this week’s Popcorn Bag movie reviews.   1) THE ACCOUNTANT (R) Warner Brothers RUSS In the high concept action flick “The Accountant,” Ben Affleck plays an autistic CPA who cooks the books for mobsters and drug kings. Luckily, this math genius is also an assassin with Jason Bourne-like skills. SHAWN And unlike Jason Bourne […]

  • promo300646115

    Aja Naomi King admits she was terrified to portray a slave, and do her justice

    Aja Naomi King plays the wife of the man who led a rebellion against slave-owners in the film, Birth of a Nation starring Nate Parker. “I’ll be honest with you. When I got on a plane to go to Savannah, Georgia, to film this, I didn’t know if I could do it. I was terrified. I was really terrified,” she said. She remembers her feelings being on the plantation land, dressed as a slave and feeling the shame. “This was […]

  • promo300123508

    Gabrielle Union: Healing after her own rape, and her conviction to portray rape victim in ‘Birth of a Nation’

    LOS ANGELES —  Entertainment reporter Russ Simmons sat down with Gabrielle Union, who plays Esther in the new film, ‘Birth of a Nation’,  about an enslaved Baptist preacher who leads a violent and historic rebellion on a Virginia plantation. Russ asked Union, ‘What are your personal takeaways about all the controversies swirling around the movie?’ Gabrielle Union answered that this movie is what she’s been waiting for since she was raped on the floor of a shoe store many years ago. “I’ve […]

  • promo300123069

    Check reviews if ‘Birth of a Nation’ or ‘The Girl on the Train’ are part of your weekend plans

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Is “Birth of a Nation” laborious? Does “The Girl on the Train” go off the tracks? Popcorn Bag movie reviews! 1) THE BIRTH OF A NATION (R) Fox Searchlight RUSS “The Birth of a Nation” is Nate Parker’s controversial but powerful film about the educated slave Nat Turner who became a pastor and led an ill-fated slave revolt in 1831. Parker wrote, directed, produced and stars as Turner in this unflinching look at the horrors of American slavery. SHAWN […]

  • promo300045763

    Meet the name behind “The Birth of a Nation”

    Nate Parker wrote, produced and directed “The Birth of a Nation,” which broke a record at the Sundance Film Festival. The movie was purchased for $17.5 million and won the festival’s Grand Jury and Audience awards. Parker says the film was shot in less than a month. He credits a supernatural power with his success. Watch the video above to hear more from Parker who said he stepped away from acting to create this film. “The Birth of a Nation” […]

  • promo299865489

    Is “X-Men” apocalyptic? “The Purge 3” need purging? Popcorn Bag home video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Is “X-Men” apocalyptic? “The Purge 3” need purging? FOX 4’s Russ Simmons and Shawn Edwards have the latest in this week’s Popcorn Bag home video reviews.   1) X-MEN: APOCALYPSE (PG-13) 20th Century Fox RUSS The latest installment in the X-Men franchise follows the ‘younger mutants’ timeline from “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” Jennifer Lawrence is the nicer Mystique of days gone by and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto gets more than he can handle from Oscar Isaac’s mutant god, Apocalypse, the most powerful […]

  • promo299512911

    Is “Miss Peregrine” peculiar? “Queen of Katwe” regal? “Deepwater Horizon” have depth? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Is “Miss Peregrine” peculiar? “Queen of Katwe” regal? “Deepwater Horizon” have depth? FOX 4’s Russ Simmons and Shawn Edwards share their thoughts on the films.   1) MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (PG-13) 20th Century Fox RUSS The title for “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” is a case of truth in advertising. The bestselling YA novel about a group of strangely gifted kids trapped in a time loop is given the eccentric Tim Burton treatment. SHAWN Director Tim […]

  • promo299078383

    FOX 4 sits down with star of ‘Queen of Katwe’

    FOX 4’s Russ Simmons sat down with David Oyelowo to talk about his latest film, “Queen of Katwe.” Oyelowo is widely known for his portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the Academy Award-nominated film “Selma.” The film focuses on a Ugandan chess prodigy from Katwe who becomes a Woman Candidate Master after her performances at World Chess Olympiads. “Queen of Katwe” opened in theaters September 10.

  • promo298909271

    Is “Magnificent Seven” magnificent? Does “Storks” deliver? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Is “Magnificent Seven” magnificent? Does “Storks” deliver? FOX 4’s Russ Simmons and Shawn Edwards has the answers in this week’s Screening Room.   1) THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (PG-13) MGM/Columbia RUSS Western fans have been eagerly anticipating the remake of the classic 1960 shoot-‘em-up, “The Magnificent Seven.” Antoine Fuqua’s reimagining of the story isn’t magnificent, but it could be called “The Pretty Good Seven.” SHAWN I actually thought it was very good. “The Magnificent 7” is an accessible western with […]