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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    Is “The Avengers 2” super? “Me, Earl and the Dying Girl” alive? Home Video Popcorn Bag reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo —   1) AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (PG-13) Walt Disney   RUSS That ‘wooshing’ sound you hear isn’t from superheroes speeding skyward, it’s the sound of money being sucked into Disney’s coffers for “Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.” The dysfunctional band of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is back for more of the destructive adventure we’ve come to expect.   SHAWN Too many characters. Too many storylines. Not enough soul. It’s almost impossible that nothing compelling really ever happens.   RUSS The movie […]

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    Chat with the Stars: The Martian’s Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain & a true astronaut

    MARS — The Martian, starring Matt Damon, and directed by Ridley Scott, is getting good reviews from critics and fans. When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon), presumed dead after a fierce storm. Film critic Russ Simmons sat down to talk to Damon about the film and asked him if it was as grueling as it appeared. He also got Damon’s reaction to making the cover of Popular Mechanics, and what it […]

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    Is “The Martian” otherworldly? “Sicario” ill? “The Walk” worth stepping out for? Popcorn Bag reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The weather is cooling off and leaving many people searching for indoor activities. FOX 4 film critics Shawn Edwards and Russ Simmons say visiting your local theater to catch on of Hollywood’s latest flicks will not leave you disappointed. Watch the video above for their latest reviews.   1) THE MARTIAN (PG-13) 20th Century Fox RUSS “Cast Away” meets “Gravity” in “The Martian,” a sweeping sci-fi opus from director Ridley Scott, based on the novel by Andy Weir. […]

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    Is “Spy” spry? “Poltergeist” spooky? “Entourage” worth gathering for? Popcorn Bag home video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 1) SPY (R) 20th Century Fox In the R-rated secret agent spoof, “Spy,” Melissa McCarthy reunites with the director of “Bridesmaids” and the results are shameless…and shamelessly funny.   McCarthy is at her cheeky best playing a stodgy CIA office worker who gets a chance to go undercover in Europe…and blooms. Be forewarned, “Spy” is broad, foul-mouthed and irreverent…and hits the comic bull’s-eye.   Shawn. however, calls it, “Way too over the top and just not funny. Everyone involved just tries way […]

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    Is “The Intern” all business? “Hotel Transylvania 2” worth checking into? “Stonewall” rocky? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo — It’s time to head to the theater to catch Hollywood’s newest flicks and see what FOX 4 film critic Shawn Edwards is calling the best rom-com he’s seen in a while.   1) THE INTERN (PG-13) Warner Brothers So what can young people learn from their elders? Plenty, if we’re to believe the latest comedy from filmmaker Nancy Meyers of “Private Benjamin” and “Father of the Bride” fame. In “The Intern,” Robert De Niro plays a retiree who […]

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    Is “Pitch Perfect 2” flawless? “Monkey Kingdom” regal? Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo —   1) PITCH PERFECT 2 (PG-13) Universal Pictures   RUSS: “Pitch Perfect” was a surprise hit in 2012. I’m happy to say that fans of that goofy musical comedy will not be disappointed in “Pitch Perfect 2,” a cheeky and oddball confection that features the further adventures of a college a capella singing group.  Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and company return and they take their act on a bumpy road to the world championships. It’s a surprisingly infectious exercise in sing-along absurdity.   […]

  • Julianne Nicholson and Dakota Johnson

    Chat with the stars: Julianne Nicholson and Dakota Johnson of “Black Mass”

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The new gangster movie “Black Mass” tells the true story of Whitey Bulger. Bulger is the infamous Boston crime kingpin who collaborated with the FBI for years. At the Toronto film festival, FOX 4’s Russ Simmons chatted with the two women who have pivotal roles in the film about the difficulties of learning an accent for the film.

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    Is “Black Mass” masterful? “Maze Runner 2” puzzling? “Everest” hit the peak? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The fall is the time of year when a lot of thrillers and horror films hit the theaters. Check out the FOX 4 film critics’ reviews of Hollywood’s latest flicks to see which ones they think are the best.   1) BLACK MASS (R) Warner Brothers RUSS: Behind the bad makeup and creepy contact lenses, Johnny Depp manages to convey a strong performance as brutal Boston gangster, Whitey Bulger, in the dark crime thriller, “Black Mass.” Thanks to a […]

  • Mark Mallouk

    KC native and screenwriter of “Black Mass” chats about breaking into film

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. —  Kansas City has a lot of talented individuals who have taken over Hollywood. Kansas City native and screenwriter of “Black Mass” and producer of “Everest,” Mark Mallouk, is about to take his latest project to the big screen. Watch the video above to hear from Mallouk and find out what it’s like being back in Kansas City. Mallouk also shares his favorite thing about Kansas City.

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    Chat with the stars: Joel Edgerton of “Black Mass”

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The new crime thriller “Black Mass” tells the story of notorious Boston crime boss, Whitey Bulger. Bulger spent 16-years on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. One of the film’s stars, Joel Edgerton, compares “Black Mass” to “The Departed.” Watch the video above to see how the two are similar but still different, according to Edgerton.

  • "Furious 7"

    Is “Furious 7” zippy? “Cinderella” the fairest? “Love and Mercy” lovable? Popcorn Bag Home Video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Temperatures are cooling off and pools are closed so it’s time to catch up on all of the summer flicks you missed. Check out what is available to screen at home this week!   1) 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, […]

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    Is “The Visit” worth the trip? “The Perfect Guy” faultless? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As summer ends, films start to get a little eerie. Watch the video above to find out which thriller FOX 4 film critics Shawn and Russ liked the best.   1) THE VISIT (PG-13) Universal Pictures RUSS I see dead people…returning to life. Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan has had a spotty record since he hit it big with “The Sixth Sense.” In need of a hit, he tries his hand at the found-footage horror genre with “The Visit.” […]