• 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 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 “Get Hard” soft headed? “Home” worth traveling to? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    Kansas City, MO — From sweet and harmless to satirized racial stereotypes the films “Get Hard” and “Home” couldn’t be more different. Although they are both hilarious, they are made for two very different age groups.   1. GET HARD(R) Warner Brothers   RUSS Whenever you satirize racial stereotypes, you run the risk of inadvertently reinforcing those stereotypes. That is the main drawback of “Get Hard,” the broad comedy starring Will Ferrell as a clueless financial executive convicted of fraud and Kevin […]

  • Does “The Hobbit” come up short? “Into the Woods” overgrown? “Unbroken” solid? Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo —   1) THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES (PG-13) Warner Brothers   RUSS After 13 years, Peter Jackson’s six-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein’s Middle Earth saga finally reaches its rousing 3-D finale. “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” displays all of the weaknesses of the previous films, like narrative padding, and strengths, notably the top-drawer eye candy and perpetual action. Taken as a whole, Jackson’s epic series is an imposing achievement. SHAWN: Tremendously entertaining. Epic battle scenes combined with a sweeping story make for a jolly three hours.   RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags […]

  • Is it urgent to see “Insurgent?” Is “The Gunman” on target? Is “Do You Believe?” credible? Popcorn Bag reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo —   1. THE DIVERGENT SERIES: INSURGENT (PG-13) Lionsgate Films 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 […]

  • “Annie” a hard-knock movie? “Exodus” divine? “Top Five” tops? DVD Popcorn Bag reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — 1. ANNIE (PG) Sony Pictures RUSS I was rooting for this remake of the classic Broadway musical. The cast is appealing, but the execution of this update of the Broadway musical is flat and uninspired. SHAWN Lets not pretend. The 1982 version was no classic. “Annie” is simply a tricky musical to pull off cinematically. But I liked this ‘urban’ update. Not so much for it’s technique but for its unforced inclusion. Loved the cultural diversity. […]

  • Screening Room: Is “Cinderella” enchanting? “Run All Night” worth running to? Popcorn Bag reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — 1) CINDERELLA (PG) Walt Disney Pictures RUSS Unapologetically old fashioned, Disney’s engaging live-action adaptation of “Cinderella” is a sweet-natured, visually dazzling treat for young girls…and all the family members who’ll tag along with them. Lily James, best known as Lady Rose from TV’s “Downton Abbey,” makes for a lovely girl of the cinders and Cate Blanchett, who can do no wrong, is her gloriously toxic stepmother. While it’s more than a bit maudlin and the pace […]

  • Chat with the stars: Celia Imrie of “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

    LONDON —  Do people over 50 have a romantic life? Fox 4’s Russ Simmons chats with Lawrence Olivier Award-winning British actress Celia Imrie who returns as a flirtatious and romantically active senior citizen in the new sequel, “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”

  • “Mockingjay” a copy cat? “Night at the Museum 3″ worth visiting? Home Video Popcorn Bag reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo— 1. THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 (PG-13) Lionsgate Films RUSS ”The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” could also have been titled, “The Setup.” That’s really all it is, a setup for the series finale, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” which will hit theaters next Thanksgiving. The series has been padded out and expanded into two films…and, sadly, the padding shows. SHAWN There is actually more padding than a fat suit. And I am […]

  • “Unfinished Business” unaccomplished? Second “Marigold Hotel” worth checking into? Popcorn Bag reviews!!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — UNFINISHED BUSINESS(R) 20th Century Fox Russ: While it’s still too early in the year to make any proclamations, it’s likely that the new tone deaf Vince Vaughn comedy “Unfinished Business” will make it onto a lot of ‘worst movies of the year’ lists. SHAWN No, it’s not too early. “Unfinished Business” is horrible. It’s the type of movie that makes people hate movies. RUSS The talented cast will want to forget all about this awful and […]

  • Chat with the stars: “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

    LONDON — FOX 4’s Russ Simmons chats with the stars of  “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” The film is a sequel to the surprise 2012 hit. Just like in the original,  the culture clash provides the conflict and comedy. Watch the video above to find out what two of the film’s stars had to say disappointed them about making the film.

  • Chat with the Stars: Margot Robbie of “Focus”

    Nicky (Will Smith), a veteran con artist, takes a novice named Jess (Margot Robbie) under his wing. While Nicky teaches Jess the tricks of the trade, the pair become romantically involved; but, when Jess gets uncomfortably close, Nicky ends their relationship. Three years later, Nicky is in Buenos Aires working a very dangerous scheme when Jess — now an accomplished femme fatale — unexpectedly shows up. Her appearance throws Nicky for a loop at a time when he cannot afford […]

  • 1.172595

    “The Book of Mormon” is a blasphemous blast

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — It’s a certainty that the LDS church elders in Salt Lake City never expected that a 2011 musical called “The Book of Mormon” would become a Broadway hit and take home nine Tony Awards including “Best Musical.” It’s also a certainty that they never expected it to be a profane and sacrilegious satire that ridicules their faith, mercilessly poking fun at their most sacred and enshrined beliefs. Oh well, that’s showbiz! Broadway Across America has finally brought the touring […]

  • horrible bosses

    Is “Big 6″ heroic? “Bosses” horrible? “Whiplash” Oscar worth? Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 1) BIG HERO 6 (PG-13) Disney   RUSS: “Big Hero Six” is a zippy and charming animated Disney flick loosely based on the Marvel comic. A teen brainiac, his inflatable healthcare companion and some nerdy science students become unlikely crime-fighters when a masked villain threatens the city.   While plot points may be derivative, the execution is very fresh. If you loved, “The Incredibles,” then “Big Hero Six” is the animated adventure for you.   Shawn calls it, “…a creative and imaginative […]