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
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    FOX 4 chats with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, producers of 2016 remake ‘Ben-Hur’

    With hit TV series like “The Voice” and “Survivor,” the mini-series spectacle “The Bible” and the hit film “Son of God,” the husband and wife team of Roma Downey and Mark Burnett may be Hollywood’s most successful power couple. Their latest big screen effort is a remake of a genuine film classic. FOX 4’s Russ Simmons chats with the producers of “Ben-Hur.”  

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    “Huntsman” gamey? “Nice Guys” finish first? These and other Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — “Huntsman” gamey? “Nice Guys” finish first? These and other Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews!   1) THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR (PG-13) Universal RUSS Someone must have watched the Pixar/Disney films “Brave” and “Frozen” and then decided they should do a very gloomy amalgamation of those stories. The result is “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” a sequel to 2012’s “Snow White and the Huntsman.” SHAWN That’s the point. It intentionally borrows from other stories. Now it may not succeed. It does have a few moments of excitement. Not […]

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    In Ben-Hur, actor originally auditioned for another part

    FOX 4 entertainment reporter Russ Simmons sat down with Jack Huston for an interesting conversation about the remake of Ben-Hur. “We had a great script,” he explained of the remake. Huston stars as Judah Ben-Hur, who loses everything after his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell), now an officer in the Roman army, returns to Jerusalem and accuses the young prince of treason. Stripped of his title and separated from his wife (Nazanin Boniadi) and family, Ben-Hur must endure years of slavery on […]

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    FOX 4 Popcorn Bag reviews of: ‘Hell or High Water’, ‘Kubo’, ‘War Dogs’, ‘Ben-Hur’

    KANSAS CITY, Mo— ‘Hell or High Water’ all wet? “Kubo” arty? “War Dogs” scruffy? “Ben-Hur” racy? Popcorn Bag movie reviews! 1) HELL OR HIGH WATER (R) CBS Films RUSS It may be too early to talk about Oscars, but we may well be mentioning the modern Western “Hell or High Water” at awards time. Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and Ben Foster star in this terrific Texas bank robbery flick that may have the best screenplay of the year. It’s a […]

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    Is Rio really Olympian? Here are three gold medal movies set in that Brazilian city. Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — With the Olympics from Rio de Janeiro dominating the airwaves, we thought we would take a look at the “Marvelous City” from a cinematic point of view. Here are three exceptional movies available on DVD or for digital download that provide another perspective. 1) CITY OF GOD (R) Miramax Films RUSS “City of God” shows the side of Rio you’ll never see during the Olympics. It’s a very disturbing but beautifully acted crime drama that shows the difficult life […]

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    Stars of “Anthropoid” share how they adapted new accents, learned about history in new film

    Jamie Dornan of “50 Shades of Grey” and Cillian Murphy from “The Dark Knight Trilogy” portray exiled Czechoslovak soldiers who attempt the daring assassination of a Nazi official in the new WWII thriller, “Anthropoid.” FOX 4’s Russ Simmons sat down with the stars to find out if they were familiar with this point in history before going into the film. “No not at all,” Dornan said. “Embarrassed to say almost cause it had a hugely important piece of history and […]

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    Does “Pete’s Dragon” fly? “Sausage Party” a food fest? Meryl Streep resounding? “Anthropoid” monkey around? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — FOX 4’s Russ Simmons and Shawn Edwards were busy in the screening room as a lot of new movies open in theaters this week. Watch the video above to see what they thought of each one.   1) PETE’S DRAGON (PG) Walt Disney Pictures RUSS Disney goes back to the well for yet another reboot of one of their family film classics. “Pete’s Dragon” is a sweet but ‘by the numbers’ remake that features state of the art CGI. […]

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    Why is KC known for Jazz? Russ and Shawn have the answer! Popcorn Bag Home Video Special Edition!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Why is Kansas City known for Jazz? Russ and Shawn have the answer in this week’s screening room!   RUSS Welcome to this special version of the Screening Room the Home Video edition. I’m Russ Simmons. People know that Kansas City is known for jazz, but what’s the story? Why is it such a big deal? How can people learn more? Shawn and I have selected three movies available on DVD or for digital download that will […]

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    Is “Suicide Squad” killer entertainment? Popcorn Bag movie review!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The FOX 4 film critics have everything you need to know about “Suicide Squad.” RUSS DC Comics attempts to expand its universe with the highly anticipated superhero thriller, “Suicide Squad.” While involving, it never quite lives up to its promise. Viola Davis plays a U.S., intelligence big-wig who assembles a team of dangerous incarcerated super villains. Her aim is to train them as a military team to use as a last-ditch option just in case other super […]

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    Popcorn Bag home video reviews of Mother’s Day, Keanu, Meet the Blacks & The Bronze

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — “Mother’s Day” worth celebrating? “Keanu” catty? “Meet the Blacks” worth encountering? Russ and Shawn give their thoughts: 1) MOTHER’S DAY (PG-13) Open Road RUSS Sadly, filmmaker Garry Marshall’s swan song was one of his weakest films. In “Mother’s Day,” the humor is forced, the sentiment is artificial and the story is chock full of awkward stereotypes. But thanks to the cast, undemanding audiences might find something to like in this extremely lightweight effort. SHAWN Director Gary Marshall recently passed […]

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    Introducing Captain Fantastic

    The new film, Captain Fantastic, is a comic drama about a father who tries to raise his six kids ‘off the grid.’ It stars Viggo Mortensen, who learns a lot about the difficulties and imperfections, no matter how hard you try to be a good parent. “He’s trying to give the kids the best possible start. He overlooks something very important which you see in the story that when they leave the forest and they interact with other kids their […]

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    Movie reviews to consider as you decide what movies to see first, or at all

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Is “Bourne” bearable? “Bad Moms” good? “Nerve” got verve? “Capt. Fantastic” a four-striper? 1) JASON BOURNE (PG-13) Universal RUSS If you’re looking for frenetic action, car chases and general paranoid mayhem then look no further than “Jason Bourne.” Matt Damon returns for the fourth time as Robert Ludlum’s CIA super assassin. SHAWN Familiar has been the theme of the summer. But “Jason Bourne” offers what people who love Jason Bourne movies are looking for. At least the ones that […]