• 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 “The Water Diviner” all wet? “Ex Machina” mechanical? Popcorn Bag reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — THE WATER DIVINER (R) Warner Brothers   RUSS Russell Crowe makes his directorial debut with the sincere melodrama, “The Water Diviner.” Crowe plays an Australian farmer who, in 1919, travels to Turkey to bring home the bodies of his three sons who died in the Battle of Gallipoli.   SHAWN Russell Crowe proves he has serious skills behind the camera. “The Water Diviner,” if nothing else, is beautifully shot and expertly crafted. It’s the story that gets […]

  • Does Jennifer Aniston take the “Cake?” Popcorn Bag Home Video review!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo—Shawn and Russ give us the lowdown on the new home video release which showcases Jennifer Aniston’s attempt to show her dramatic acting chops. Is “Cake” the confection its title implies or does Aniston get her just desserts? Click here to receive weekly emails full of FOX 4′s entertainment news! What’s our criteria for reviewing a film and awarding the popcorn bag ratings? Click here:  http://link.fox4kc.com/1fu5fMn Follow on Twitter: @fox4kc @RussSimmons1 @sedwardskc

  • Does “Unfriended” merit some ‘likes?’ “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2″ arresting? Popcorn Bag reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo.– Russ and Shawn take a look at “Unfriended,” a unique new supernatural thriller that exploits our fears about Internet privacy. Shawn warns us about the meager charms of the comedy sequel, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.” Click here to receive weekly emails full of FOX 4′s entertainment news! What’s our criteria for reviewing a film and awarding the popcorn bag ratings? Click here:  http://link.fox4kc.com/1fu5fMn Follow on Twitter: @fox4kc @RussSimmons1 @sedwardskc

  • Does “Furious 7″ hit the accelerator? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — Does “Furious 7″ compare to its predecessors? FOX 4’s Russ Simmons and Shawn Edwards weigh in with their opinions of the latest film in the “Fast and Furious” franchise. FURIOUS 7 (PG-13) Universal   RUSS Ah, 2001 was a simpler time. It marked the debut of “The Fast and the Furious,” a movie adaptation of a magazine story about LA’s street racing scene. Since then, the subsequent “Furious” movies have evolved into over-the-top, comic book variations of […]

  • Is “Interstellar” stellar? “Imitation Game” counterfeit? “Wild” too tame? Home Video Popcorn Bag reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — FOX 4’s Shawn Edwards and Russ Simmons reviewed some of the latest films to come out on home video. Find out how they ranked this week’s releases. 1. INTERSTELLAR (PG-13) Paramount   RUSS After making modern mind-twisters like “Memento” and “Inception” as well as the “Dark Knight Trilogy,” it’s easy to see why movie buffs have eagerly awaited Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller, “Interstellar.” While the talented filmmaker may have bitten off a bit more than he can […]

  • 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 […]