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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    Popcorn Bag home video reviews: The Girl on the Train, Ouija 2 and The Joneses

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — “The Girl on the Train” off the tracks? What about “Ouija 2” and “The Joneses?” Popcorn Bag home video reviews! 1) THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (R) Universal RUSS “The Girl on the Train” is an adaptation of the bestselling thriller. Emily Blunt plays an emotionally disturbed alcoholic who may or may not have seen evidence of a crime during her daily train commute. The narrators of this story are unreliable, so the mystery is a bit convoluted. SHAWN […]

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    Popcorn Bag movie reviews: Patriots Day, Live by Night, Silence, Bye Bye Man

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Is “Patriots Day” worth celebrating? “Live by Night,” “Silence,” “Bye Bye Man” too? Popcorn Bag movie reviews! 1) PATRIOTS DAY (R)CBS Films/Lionsgate RUSS Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg give the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing incident the same treatment they gave the “Deepwater Horizon” explosion. “Patriots Day” is a docudrama that employs handheld camerawork and location shooting to create a realistic reenactment of the events. SHAWN Peter Berg has proven to be a very consistent director. He’s never flashy […]

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    Popcorn Bag movie reviews: Hidden Figures and A Monster Calls

    KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Does “Hidden Figures” add up? “A Monster Calls” worth a response? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!   1) HIDDEN FIGURES (PG) 20th Century Fox RUSS Kansas City native Janelle Monáe has proven herself to be a terrific musician. She can now add the title ‘acclaimed actress’ to her resume. She’s part of a strong acting ensemble in “Hidden Figures,” potent follow-up to her role in the current drama, “Moonight.” Monáe, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer star in the true […]

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    Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews: The Birth of a Nation, The Accountant and Deepwater Horizon

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Is “The Birth of a Nation” laborious? Does “The Accountant” tally up? “Deepwater Horizon” have depth? Popcorn Bag Home Video 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 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. It’s vibrant enough to start some meaningful conversations. SHAWN SAYS: […]

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    Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews: Denial and Blair Witch

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Should you deny “Denial?” “Blair Witch” bewitching? Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews!   1) DENIAL (R) Bleeker Street RUSS “Denial” is a taut, intriguing true story about an important British legal case. Rachel Weisz plays an American historian who is sued for libel by a Holocaust denier when she calls him a liar. Is someone lying when they really believe what they say is true, even when it isn’t? SHAWN The cast is top-notch and the script is […]

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    Russ’ BEST MOVIES OF 2016 List! Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the New Year approaches, it’s time to look back on the best of 2016. Here are my choices for the cream of the cinematic crop.   5) THE JUNGLE BOOK (PG) Walt Disney The new version of the Disney classic “The Jungle Book” ranks right up there with “Zootopia” as the cream of the contemporary cinematic crop. It’s an engaging, eye-popping adventure.   4) HELL OR HIGH WATER (R) CBS Films/Lionsgate Expect some Oscar love for the modern Western “Hell or High Water,” particularly […]

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    Popcorn Bag Home Video Reviews: American Honey, Snowden and When the Bough Breaks

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Is “American Honey” sweet? How about “Snowden” and “When the Bough Breaks?” Here’s your Popcorn Bag Home Video Reviews. 1) AMERICAN HONEY (R) A24/Focus Features/Universal RUSS “American Honey” is the Shia LaBeouf drama that that was shot largely in the Kansas City area and won this year’s jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s an unusual coming of age drama about a hard-partying group of misfit teens selling magazines door to door. Newcomer Sasha Lane plays a young girl […]

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    Christmas movies, Round Two: Popcorn Bag reviews!

    1) FENCES (R) Paramount RUSS August Wilson’s searing Broadway family drama “Fences” makes a successful leap to the big screen thanks to sensational performances from Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Mykelti Williamson and KC’s own Stephen Henderson. SHAWN You mean the entire cast. Collectively this may be one of the best cast ever and Denzel Washington and Viola Davis elevate Pulitzer Prize playwright August Wilson’s incredible dialogue to new heights. Cancel the Oscars right now…at least the acting categories. RUSS The only downside […]

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    Christmas movies Round One: Popcorn Bag Reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — ‘Sing’ gets the highest marks from both FOX 4 film critics, Russ Simmons and Shawn Edwards. Planning to see ‘Passengers’ or ‘Jackie’ or ‘Assassin’s Creed?’. Here’s what they thought: 1) PASSENGERS (PG-13) Columbia Pictures RUSS Two very likable stars get lost in space in the well-produced romantic sci-fi drama, “Passengers.” Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt play people on a 120-year space voyage when their hibernation pods awaken them 90 years too soon. SHAWN So that’s the plot line […]

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    Is “Sully” sullen? “Magnificent Seven” a ten? “Storks” for the birds? Popcorn Bag home video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. —   1) SULLY (PG-13) Warner Brothers   Tom Hanks is an actor who, like the late Jimmy Stewart before him, has a natural aura of decency that comes through in his characters. That makes him the ideal person to portray a modest American hero, airline Captain Sully Sullenberger. In “Sully,” he plays the man who, in 2009, steered a disabled jet into the Hudson River saving the lives of all 155 passengers.   Clint Eastwood’s movie focuses on some intriguing […]

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    Hollywood Comes to KC for a Celebration of Movies that Inspire People to Travel

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — Nominations for the 2nd Annual Cinema Buzz Movie Trip Awards Show Include: La La Land, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Movie Trip TV is proud to announce the film nominees for the 2nd Annual Cinema Buzz Movie Trip Awards hosted by Theresa O’Leary.  The winners will be revealed live at the awards show Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at Screenland Tapcade 1701 McGee Street, Kansas City, MO at […]

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    Kansas City Film Critics’ Circle names MANCHESTER BY THE SEA the Best Film of 2016

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Manchester by the Sea was chosen as the Best Film of 2016 by the Kansas City Film Critics Circle, the second oldest critics group in the country. The winners were announced today during a ceremony for the 51st Annual James Loutzenhiser Awards at the Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet Theatre in Kansas City. The Kansas City Film Critics Circle was founded by Dr. James Loutzenhiser in 1966 as the Kansas City Film Circle Awards, and is the second […]