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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
  • Is “Mad Max” infuriating? “The D Train” worth the ride? Popcorn Bag home video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo —   1) MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (R) Warner Brothers   RUSS: Although it’s been over 30 years since Mad Max’s last appearance, it seems like Australian filmmaker George Miller hasn’t missed a savage beat.   In the rousing and action-packed fourth installment in the franchise, “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Tom Hardy replaces Mel Gibson as our titular hero, a reluctant warrior who battles hordes of marauders in an ultra-violent dystopian future.   The plot serves as an excuse for Miller and his band […]

  • “Friends” cordial? Wanna flee “No Escape?” These and more Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Lots of new movies are scheduled to hit theaters Friday, including one that stars Zac Efron. FOX 4 film critic Russ Simmons and Shawn Edwards break down the films to see if they have lived up to their expectations. 1) WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS (R) Warner Brothers RUSS: Zac Efron needs a new agent. “We Are Your Friends” tells the tepid story of a wannabe DJ who tries to break into LA’s electronic dance music scene. A likable cast and […]

  • FOX 4 film critics Shawn Edwards and Russ Simmons broke down Hollywood's latest release in this week's "Popcorn Bag Reviews."

    Is “American Ultra” dope? “Hitman: Agent 47” a hit? “Listen to Me Marlon” worth a listen? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ratings for Hollywood’s latest releases varied widely. Watch the video above to see which one scored the highest rating and which one Russ says he could have lived without seeing.   1) AMERICAN ULTRA (R) Lionsgate Pictures SHAWN “Ameircan Ultra” starring Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg as stoners is daring, cool and explosively entertaining. “American Ultra’ is just freakin’ awesome. Eisenberg is in fact a government agent marked as a liability and targeted for extermination. But… I liked this cool concept and explosively […]

  • Hip-hop movies? Here are some classics for our Popcorn Bag home video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — RUSS The hip-hop drama “Straight Outta Compton” is a current box office hit, so in this special edition of the Home Video Screening Room, we’re taking a look at some memorable hip-hop movies of the past that we’d recommend checking out. 1) POETIC JUSTICE (1993) (R) Columbia Pictures RUSS When Tupac Shakur died in 1996, not only did we lose a great rap artist, we also lost a potentially great actor. Had he lived, I think he’d have […]

  • "Straight Outta Compton"

    Will you wanna get “Straight Outta Compton?” Will “Man” make you want to say, “U.N.C.L.E.?” Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — Shawn and Russ gave “Straight Outta Compton” and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E” pretty high ratings. Watch the video above to find out what the FOX 4 film critics liked and disliked about each one.   1) STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (R) Universal RUSS Ice Cube said, “Our art is a reflection of our reality.” That harsh reality is ably reflected in the compelling, no-holds-barred drama, “Straight Outta Compton,” the story of the rise of the controversial West Coast rap […]

  • Is “Hot Pursuit” worth pursuing? “Unfriended” likable? Home Video Popcorn Bag reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — 1) HOT PURSUIT (PG-13) Warner Brothers RUSS: Reese Witherspoon and Sophia Vergara are much too good to be trapped in the lame-brained chase comedy, “Hot Pursuit.” Witherspoon plays a by-the-book Texas policewoman who tries to protect Vergara, the wife of a Colombian drug informant, from hit men & corrupt cops.   RUSS The plot’s contrived mechanics are all too obvious, thwarting any good will generated by the likable stars. There isn’t anything in this obvious farce that we haven’t seen […]

  • Chat with the stars: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell of “Fantastic Four”

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Fantastic four are back with an all new cast. Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Bell star in a reboot of the Marvel classic.  FOX 4 film critic Russ Simmons sat down with the stars to find out which super hero they dream of being besides members of the Fantastic four.

  • FOX 4's Shawn Edwards and Russ Simmons break down Hollywood's newest releases.

    “Fantastic Four” phony? “The Gift” worth receiving? “Shaun” sheepish? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — If you’re headed to the theater, but you’re not sure which film to buy tickets for checkout what FOX 4 film critics Shawn Edwards and Russ Simmons had to say about each of this week’s releases. 1) FANTASTIC FOUR (PG-13) 20th Century Fox RUSS After only 7 years, Hollywood thinks it’s time for a “Fantastic Four” reboot. Marvel’s all-new origin story has been adapted from the 2004 “Ultimate Fantastic Four” comic book series. Maybe they should have left […]

  • Chat with the stars: Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall of “The Gift”

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Actor Joel Edgerton (“The Great Gatsby”) makes his directorial debut with the psychological thriller, “The Gift,” which he also produced, wrote and stars in as a creepy stalker named Gordo. Jason Bateman (“Horrible Bosses”) and Rebecca Hall (“Vicky Christina Barcelona”) play a couple that Gordo torments. FOX 4 film critic Russ Simmons chatted with the stars about why they love acting.

  • Urgent to see “Insurgent?” “Far From the Madding Crowd” stuffy? Popcorn Bag Home Video Reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo —   1) INSURGENT (PG-13) Lionsgate   RUSS The “Divergent” series, yet another young adult sci-fi drama set in a dystopian future, made its big screen debut last year. The second in the four-part movie series is “Insurgent.” If you haven’t seen the first one, seeing “Insurgent” isn’t urgent.   Shailene Woodley is back in the continuing story of a teenaged girl who rebels against the formidable powers that be. While “Divergent” was reasonably entertaining, the sequel will […]

  • “Mission: Impossible 5” possible to like? “Vacation” make you wanna get away? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — It’s time to hit the theater again! Find out what Russ Simmons has to say about “Mission: Impossible 5” and “Vacation” and whether they live up to their expectations.   1) MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION (PG-13) Paramount Pictures Tom Cruise goes back to the well for a fifth time with yet another “Mission: Impossible” movie. Making it worth seeing should be, well…impossible. But, by golly, the IMF has done it again. “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” is an entertaining […]

  • Chat with the stars: Ed Helms and Christina Applegate of “Vacation”

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been 32 years since Chevy Chase took the Griswold family on their first “Vacation.” In a reboot of the popular comedy franchise, Ed Helms of “The Hangover” fame plays Chevy’s son who decides to recreate that earlier family experience by taking his wife, played by Christina Applegate, and two sons on a road trip to Wally World. FOX 4’s Russ Simmons sat down with the stars to find out what they first think of when they […]