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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
  • Is “A Quiet Place” worth visiting? “Isle of Dogs” a mutt? “Blockers” blue? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY. Mo. — There are scares and laughs aplenty in this week’s Screening Room. Watch Shawn and Russ before you head to the theaters!   1) A QUIET PLACE (PG-13) Paramount Pictures   RUSS Originality in horror movies is a rare commodity. Director/star John Krasinski delivers something unique with the genuinely scary creepfest, “A Quiet Place.” It’s skillfully made and acted and truly frightening.   SHAWN “A Quiet Place” is the best horror movie since “Get Out.” Effectively scary. Cleverly executed. […]

  • Is “Father Figures” funny? “Jane” joyous? Popcorn Bag home video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A mindless comedy and a biographical documentary are new home video offerings this week. Check out which one Russ and Shawn recommend! 1) FATHER FIGURES (R) Warner Brothers SHAWN “Father Figures” is a mildly funny and mindless comedy. Yes, it’s lazy at times and often desperate for attention. I loved watching Katt Williams the most underrated funny person of our generation. SHAWN: 2 Popcorn Bags   2) JANE (PG) National Geographic RUSS Although she had no formal training, young Jane Goodall went into […]

  • Which movies best commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In recognition of Dr. King’s life, Russ and Shawn have each picked two movies that are informative and involving. There have been many documentaries and a handful of dramatic films made about Martin Luther King in the 50 years since his assassination. Here are our picks for movies to see that are informative and involving. Russ’ picks: 1) SELMA (PG-13) 2015 Paramount Who knew that a movie about events that took place in 1965 could be so timely? […]

  • Is “Ready Player One” a gamer? “Acrimony” harsh? “Loveless” lovable? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS  CITY, Mo. — Has Steven Spielberg regained his mojo? Has Tyler Perry found his? Don’t miss Russ/Shawn movie reviews! 1) READY PLAYER ONE (PG-13) Warner Brothers RUSS There probably isn’t a director better suited to adapting Ernest Cline’s pop novel “Ready Player One” for the big screen than Steven Spielberg. It’s the sort of visual-heavy sci-fi extravaganza that a lesser filmmaker would have made a complete mess of. Tye Sheridan stars as a kid who, in the dystopian future, plays a virtual […]

  • Are “The Last Jedi” and “Last Men in Aleppo?” the last straw? ” Popcorn Bag home video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two films from opposite sides of the cinematic universe are now streaming. Shawn and Russ let us know if the latest in the “Star Wars” franchise and a harrowing war documentary are worth your time.   1) STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (PG-13) Walt Disney RUSS Is the Force with the latest installment of the Star Wars franchise? Yes. Packed with action, vitality, humor and pleasing familiarity, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is just what fans want. It’s impossible to talk about the plot […]

  • Is “Pacific Rim: Uprising” a downer? “Midnight Sun” illuminating? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Will a big budget sequel prove to be a monster at the box office? Does it matter? Russ and Shawn give the lowdown on a Hollywood spectacle, a tear-jerking teen romance and a dark political satire, all new in theaters this week! 1) PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING (PG-13) Universal RUSS Like the giant monsters and rock-‘em-sock-‘em robots it features, the $150 million spectacle “Pacific Rim: Uprising” is very big, very loud and very dopey. Unlike the 2013 original, this […]

  • Does “Justice League” do justice to Superman? “Shape of Water” earn its Oscar? Popcorn Bag home video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A big-budget superhero franchise, an Oscar-winning Best Picture and an animated hit have all arrived on home video. Shawn and Russ steer viewers in the right direction! JUSTICE LEAGUE (PG-13) Warner Brothers It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s “The Avengers!” Er, no, it’s “Justice League.” The DC cinematic universe plays catch up with Marvel by finally getting its superhero coalition to the big screen, but is a notch below its rival. While offering little that’s original, “Justice […]

  • Is “A Wrinkle in Time” worth your time? “A Fantastic Woman” fantastic? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Can a classic children’s book that’s been called “unfilmable” succeed on the big screen? Check out Russ and Shawn before you give “A Wrinkle in Time” your time.   1) A WRINKLE IN TIME (PG) Walt Disney RUSS “A Wrinkle in Time,” the classic, 1962 award-winning science fantasy novel has finally made it to the big screen. Director Ava DuVernay’s $103 million adaptation is colorful, well-meaning and, ultimately, bland. Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling play the […]

  • Does “Thor: Ragnarok” put the hammer down? Popcorn Bag home video reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The new videos available to watch at home were all over the map. Some great, some not so great. The FOX4 film critics let you know which ones are worth your time in the video player above.   1) THOR: RAGNAROK (PG-13) Walt Disney RUSS The third time is the charm for “Thor.” A goofy, tongue-in-cheek action adventure that relies a lot on quirky comedy, “Thor: Ragnarok” is an eye-popping extravaganza that should please most fans.   SHAWN Yes, […]

  • KC’s Walt Disney reigns as the all-time Oscar-winning champion!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hollywood’s top prize has been won by Kansas City’s top showbiz export. Check out Russ’ look at the golden statues won by Walt Disney! There’s no bigger name in the history of show business than Kansas City native, Walt Disney. His entertainment empire began at the Laugh-O-Grams Studios at 1127 East 31st Street. As far as the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is concerned, he’s the all-time champ, having won 32 Oscars, far more than […]

  • Does “Red Sparrow” soar? Popcorn Bag movie reviews!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The FOX4 film critics were not impressed by “Red Sparrow,” but they said Jennifer Lawrence made it more enjoyable.   1) RED SPARROW (R) 20th Century Fox   RUSS Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence has proven that she’s got the acting chops and personal charisma to elevate so-so material. That ability is sorely needed in the new spy thriller, “Red Sparrow.” SHAWN It’s needed more than ever. I forget just how talented Jennifer Lawrence really is sometimes and she […]

  • Kansas Citians reign at the Oscars!

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While Kansas City may be halfway to Hollywood, this Midwestern berg has had an out-sized influence on Tinseltown. Check out Russ’ look at KC Oscar winners! Since the advent of cinema, Kansas Citians have had a major impact on Hollywood. That’s reflected in the number of KC natives who have racked up Academy Awards. -Ub Iwerks was a cartoonist, inventor, special effects creator and Disney’s right-hand man at Kansas City’s Laugh-O-Gram Studios. He’s won two technical […]

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