Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews Section

Stay up to date on the latest films with Movie Reviews featured in two short segments — Take Two and Freeze Frame. “Take Two” hosts Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders review independently made films and art-house movies currently showing in Kansas City. “Freeze Frame” is a two-minute countdown of films reviewed by Russ Simmons, an award-winning film critic, whose work has been featured on television and in print for nearly two decades.

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“Men, Women and Children” and “Fury” Movie Reviews – Freeze Frame ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 17, 2014 | 10:58 am

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Russ covers the brutal Brad Pitt WWII flick, "Fury" and the ensemble drama "Men, Women & Children," starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Garner.

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Take Two: “Fury” with Brad Pitt ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 17, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ and Susan weigh in on the ultra-violent Brad Pitt war drama, "Fury."

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Take Two: “Gone Girl” Movie Review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 10, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Kansas City native Gillian Flynn's novel "Gone Girl" is the top movie at the box office and Russ and Susan agree that it's an early Oscar contender.

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Film Reviews: The Judge, The Notebook, and Kill the Messenger ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 3, 2014 | 10:58 am

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Freeze Frame with Russ Simmons reviews three films: The Judge with Robert Downey, Jr and Robert Duvall, The Notebook, an ultra bleak Czech film, not to be confused with the love story film of the same title, and Kill the Messenger, a film following a journalist in the 1980's who broke a story about a twisted CIA-sponsored program to arm the Nicaraguan contras through introduction of crack cocaine in the U.S. in the 1980's.

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Gone Girl: “What have we done to each other?” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 3, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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This review covers "Gone Girl," a movie getting a lot of well-deserved attention, based on the book of the same title by Missouri author Gillian Flynn.

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Movie Review: “The Good Lie” Has a KC Link ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 3, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ and Susan check out "The Good Lie," a film about Sudanese refugees that takes place in Kansas City.

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The Drop: James Gandolfini’s Last Film ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 19, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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The Drop is a 2014 American crime drama film directed by Michaël R. Roskam and written by Dennis Lehane. The film is based on Dennis Lehane's 2009 short story "Animal Rescue". Lehane also adapted the script into a 2014 novel of the same name. The film stars Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz and James Frecheville. It was screened in the Special Presentations section of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, and was released theatrically on September 12, 2014.

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“Life Of Crime” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 6, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Fox 4's Russ Simmons and KKFI's Susan Sanders give their takes on the offbeat new comedy Life Of Crime, starring Jennifer Aniston, Tim Robbins, and Mos Def.

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“And So It Goes” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 5, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Susan Sanders and Russ Simmons review Rob Reiner's new film, And So It Goes, starring Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas.

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“Boyhood”, “Get On Up”, and “Guardians Of The Galaxy” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 4, 2014 | 10:58 am

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Russ Simmons gives us a preview of Richard Linklater's epic 12-year project, "Boyhood", featuring Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, and Ellar Coltrane, as well as the new James Brown biopic "Get On Up", starring Chadwick Bozeman, and Chris Pratt in the eagerly-anticipated Marvel flick "Guardians Of The Galaxy".

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“Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 29, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders review the provocative, academic documentary Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia, directed by Nicholas D. Wrathall.

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“Lucy”, “And So It Goes”, “Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia”, and more ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 28, 2014 | 10:58 am

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Russ Simmons gives us a look into Scarlet Johansson's sci-fi thrill ride "Lucy", directed by Luc Besson, as well as the new Rob Reiner/Diane Keaton/Michael Douglas vehicle "And So It Goes".

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Top Two Favorite Films of 2014 ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 22, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ and Susan give their picks at the halfway point of the year for their top two favorite films of the year: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Locke, and Gravity.

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“The Purge: Anarchy”, “Venus In Furs”, KC Fringe Fest and more! ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 21, 2014 | 10:58 am

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Fox 4's Russ Simmons gives us a sneak peek into the sequel The Purge: Anarchy, Roman Polanski's Venus In Furs, the Roger Ebert biopic Life Itself, Planes, Fire & Rescue, Sex Tape, a look into the films premiering at the KC Fringe Festival, and much more.

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“Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes”, “Third Person” & The KC Fringe Fest ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 14, 2014 | 10:58 am

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Russ Simmons gives us a preview of the sequel "Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes", starring Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, and Keri Russell, Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis' "Third Person" as well as a glimpse at the KC Fringe Festival.

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Susan and Russ chat about the pros and cons of Melissa McCarthy’s road comedy, “Tammy.” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 6, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Susan and Russ chat about the pros and cons of Melissa McCarthy's road comedy, "Tammy."

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Russ takes a look at Melissa McCarthy’s comedy, “Tammy” and the sci-fi flick for kids, “Earth to Echo.” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 7, 2014 | 10:58 am

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Russ Simmons gives us a peek at Melissa McCarthy's screenwriting debut, "Tammy", as well as "E.T." redux "Earth To Echo", as well as "The Double", "Begin Again", and "Deliver Us From Evil".

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“The Rover” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 24, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Susan and Russ review the new Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce film, the Mad Max-esque Australian film The Rover.

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“Neighbors” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 13, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Fox 4's Russ Simmons and KKFI's Susan Sanders review the raunchy new Zac Efron and Seth Rogen comedy, Neighbors.

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“The Railway Man” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 6, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Susan Sanders and Russ Simmons give their opinions on Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman's British WWII drama, The Railway Man.

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“Under The Skin” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 29, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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The new erotic-sci fi thriller Under The Skin with Scarlett Johansson is analyzed by Susan and Russ.

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“The Unknown Known” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 22, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Errol Morris' documentary on the controversial former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, The Unknown Known, is given the once-over by Fox 4's Russ Simmons and KKFI's Susan Sanders.

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“Draft Day” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 15, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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KKFI's Susan Sanders and Russ Simmons review Kevin Costner's new movie, Draft Day, a manipulative, soap-y story about the front office of an NFL team.

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“Draft Day”, “Oculus”, “The Unknown Known”, plus more ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 14, 2014 | 10:58 am

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Russ Simmons profiles Kevin Costner's latest flick Draft Day, creepfest Oculus, Errol Morris' documentary The Unknown Known, about Donald Rumsfeld, and Rio 2, as well as Lunchbox, Rob The Mob, and much more.

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“Noah” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 8, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Mad Max meets Titanic meets the Bible as FOX 4's Russ Simmons and KKFI's Susan Sanders review Darren Aronofsky's Noah, starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly.

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Captain, Particle Fever and KC Film Fest ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 7, 2014 | 10:58 am

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Russ Simmons profiles Captain America: The Winter Soldier with Chris Evans, the Higgs-Boson documentary Particle Fever, and gives us an update on the Kansas City Film Fest happening this month.

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“300: Rise Of An Empire” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 25, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Fox 4's Russ Simmons and KKFI's Susan Sanders review gladiator action flick 300: Rise Of An Empire, starring Aussie actor Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green.

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Movie Reviews: Need for Speed, Single Mom’s Club, and Others ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 17, 2014 | 10:58 am

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Russ Simmons previews the latest movies opening this week: Need For Speed starring Aaron Paul, indie film Tim's Vermeer, biopic Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, Tyler Perry's Single Mom's Club, starring Wendi McLendon-Covey, and Better Living Through Chemistry starring Sam Rockwell and Olivia Wilde.

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“Divergent, “Grand Budapest Hotel,” and “Muppets: Most Wanted” Film Reviews ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 24, 2014 | 10:58 am

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FOX 4 film critic Russ Simmons breaks down for you the latest films opening at your local theater this week: sci-fi film Divergent, starring Kate Winslet, Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, starring Ralph Fiennes, indie horror flick Enemy starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Muppets: Most Wanted, and Blood Ties starring Clive Owen and Marion Cotillard.

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“Tim’s Vermeer” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 18, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders review Penn & Teller's documentary, Tim's Vermeer, about inventor Tim Jenison's efforts to duplicate the painting techniques of Johannes Vermeer.

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“The Wind Rises” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 11, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders review the Impressionistic Japanese animated film by Hayao Miyazaki, The Wind Rises, a look at the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II.

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Freeze Frame: 3-7-14 to 3-13-14 ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 10, 2014 | 10:58 am

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Russ Simmons previews anticipated sequel 300: Rise Of An Empire, the family-friendly Peabody & Sherman, French export Stranger By The Lake, and restaurant documentary Spinning Plates.

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“In Secret” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 4, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders review the adaptation of Émile Zola's novel Thérèse Raquin, the film In Secret, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Jessica Lange.

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Freeze Frame: 2-28-14 through 3-6-14 ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 3, 2014 | 10:58 am

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KKFI and Fox's Russ Simmons profiles Son Of God, the Oscar-nominated Japanese animated film The Wind Rises, and Nonstop featuring Liam Neeson.

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Movie Review: “The Past” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 25, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders give their takes on Asghar Farhadi's Iran-via-Paris drama The Past (Le Passé), starring Bérénice Bejo and Tahar Rahim.

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Movie Reviews: Pompeii, 3 Days to Kill, Barefoot ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 24, 2014 | 10:58 am

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Russ Simmons gives us a look at visual epic Pompeii, In Secret with Jessica Lange, Kevin Costner's Three Days To Kill, and romantic drama Barefoot.

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Movie Review: “The Monuments Men” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 18, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ and Susan review The Monuments Men, directed and acted in by George Clooney, about the men who risked their lives to protect international treasures and works of art from the Nazis in WWII.

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Movie Reviews: Robocops, About Last Night, Gloria, and More ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 17, 2014 | 10:58 am

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The remakes of Robocop and About Last Night are previewed by Russ Simmons, as is A Winter's Tale with Colin Farrell, Asghar Farhadi's The Past, Chilean film Gloria, and the remake of 1981's Endless Love.

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Movie Review: “Labor Day” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 11, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ Simmons gives us a look at visual epic Pompeii, In Secret with Jessica Lange, Kevin Costner's Three Days To Kill, and romantic drama Barefoot.

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Movie Reviews: Legos, Monuments, Vampires and A Field in England ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 10, 2014 | 10:58 am

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Russ Simmons profiles cartoon satire The Lego Movie, The Monuments Men starring George Clooney, teen comedy Vampire Academy, and horror film A Field In England, set in 1648.

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Take Two: “Her” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 21, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Susan Sanders and Russ Simmons discuss the Oscar-nominated science-fiction romance Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlet Johansson.

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Movie Reviews: August: Osage County, Her, Lone Survivor, and Jack Ryan ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 20, 2014 | 10:58 am

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Russ Simmons gives us a preview of August: Osage County with Meryl Streep, Her starring Joaquin Phoenix, and much more.

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Russ Simmons Reviews the Worst Movies of 2013 ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 14, 2014 | 10:58 am

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Russ Simmons gives his Worst Of… picks for 2013.

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Take Two: “The Great Beauty” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 14, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ and Susan discuss Italian film A Great Beauty by Jep Cambardella.

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Take Two: “The Wolf Of Wall Street” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 7, 2014 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders chat about Martin Scorcese's raunchy, Oscar-nominated film The Wolf Of Wall Street

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Movie Reviews: Fruitvale Station, American Hustle and More ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 6, 2014 | 10:58 am

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Russ gives his picks for Best Films of 2013.

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Take Two: “Out Of The Furnace” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 24, 2013 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ and Susan chat about Scott Cooper's Out Of The Furnace, starring Christian Bale and Casey Affleck.

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Anchorman 2, American Hustle, Saving Mr Banks, Inside Llewyn Davis and More ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 23, 2013 | 10:58 am

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Films highlighted this week include Anchorman 2, Walking With Dinosaurs, Saving Mr. Banks, and American Hustle.

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Movie Reviews: The Hobbit, Armstrong Lie, Madea’s Christmas ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 16, 2013 | 10:58 am

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The Hobbit's second installment, The Armstrong Lie and Madea's Christmas are highlighted.

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Take Two: “Philomena” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 10, 2013 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders give their reviews of Philomena, based on a true story and starring Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan.

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Movie Review: Out of the Furnace and Tivoli’s Kickstarter ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 9, 2013 | 10:58 am

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Christian Bale's new movie is discussed, along with the Tivoli Theatre's Kickstarter campaign.

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Take Two: “Nebraska” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 17, 2013 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders tackle Bruce Dern's latest movie, the melancholy Nebraska, directed by Alexander Payne, and also starring Will Forte.

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Freeze Frame: November 22-28, 2013 ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 25, 2013 | 10:58 am

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Delivery Man, Dallas Buyers Club and Kill Your Darlings are covered.

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Take Two: November 22-28, 2013 ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 25, 2013 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Controversial film "Blue Is The Warmest Color" is highlighted.

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“All Is Lost” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 18, 2013 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ and Susan chat about Robert Redford's solo turn in the movie All Is Lost, an American survival film written and directed by J. C. Chandor.

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“12 Years A Slave” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 11, 2013 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders discuss their takes on 12 Years A Slave, a British-American epic historical drama film.

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“12 Years A Slave”, “Ender’s Game”, “Last Vegas”, “About Time”, “Wadjda”, “Muscle Shoals” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 4, 2013 | 10:58 am

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Today's films covered by host Russ Simmons are 12 Years A Slave starring Michael Fassbender, Ender's Game starring Harrison Ford, the geriatric comedy Last Vegas starring Robert DeNiro, About Time starring Bill Nighy and Rachael McAdams, the Saudi Arabian film Wadjda starring Waad Mohammed, and the collaborative music film Muscle Shoals.

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“The Counselor”, “Bad Grandpa”, “A Touch Of Sin”, “The Summit”, Glenwood Arts Theatre showing KAN Film Fest selections ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 28, 2013 | 10:58 am

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Russ Simmons previews new movies opening this week: The Counselor starring Michael Fassbender, Johnny Knoxville's Bad Grandpa, Chinese-language film A Touch of Sin, and true-life climbing adventure The Summit. Also, he tells of the KAN Film Festival selections receiving a limited edition screening at the Glenwood Arts Theatre.

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“Carrie”, “The Fifth Estate”, “The Escape Plan”, “Concussion” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 21, 2013 | 10:58 am

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Today on Freeze Frame, Russ Simmons gives us a glimpse into the upcoming films Carrie, the reboot starring Chloe Grace Moretz, WikiLeaks biopic The Fifth Estate starring Benedict Cumberbatch, The Escape Plan starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, and Concussion starring Robin Weigert.

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“Captain Phillips” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 21, 2013 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders chat about Captain Phillips, an American action thriller based on real events surrounding the Somalian pirate takeover of a cargo ship, directed by Paul Greengrass and starring Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi.

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“Captain Phillips”, “Machete Kills”, “Inequality For All”, “Escape From Tomorrow”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Red Wing” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 14, 2013 | 10:58 am

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Russ gives us a look at movies opening this week, including true-life adventure Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks, Grindhouse-inspired sequel Machete Kills starring Charlie Sheen and Sofia Vergara, income disparity documentary Inequality For All with Robert Reich, sci-fi flick Escape From Tomorrow directed by Randy Moore, Julian Fellowes' take on Romeo and Juliet, and Red Wing starring Bill Paxton.

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“Prisoners” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 7, 2013 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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Russ and Susan analyze Prisoners, an American thriller film directed by Denis Villeneuve.

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“Gravity”, “Runner Runner”, “Good Old Frieda”, “Parkland”, “Hot Cuisine”, and 13th KAN Film Festival ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 7, 2013 | 10:58 am

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This week, Russ Simmons gives us a look at Gravity starring Sandra Bullock, Runner Runner starring Justin Timberlake, Good Ol' Freda starring Zac Efron, JFK drama Parkland with Paul Giamatti, French-language film Hot Cuisine, and a glimpse into the 13th annual KAN Film Festival.

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“Hannah Arendt” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 30, 2013 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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This week's review is of the biopic Hannah Arendt, a German-Luxembourgian-French drama film about German-Jewish philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt directed by Margarethe von Trotta and starring Barbara Sukowa.

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“Rush”, “Don Jon”, “Enough Said”, “Baggage Claim”, “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2″, “Cutie And The Boxer” and the Kansas International Film Festival ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 30, 2013 | 10:58 am

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Today, Russ Simmons tells us about Rush starring Chris Hemsworth, Don Jon with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Enough Said with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini, Baggage Claim with Paula Patton, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 starring Bill Hader, Cutie And The Boxer starring Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, and also news about the Kansas International Film Festival.

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“In A World” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 23, 2013 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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This week on Take Two, Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders review In A World, directed by and starring Lake Bell in her feature-length writing, directing, and producing debut. The film follows a young woman doing voice-over work for film trailers.

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“Prisoners”, “Short Term 12″, “Thanks For Sharing”, “Battle Of The Year”, “Populaire”, “Salinger”, and “Wizard of Oz: IMAX” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 23, 2013 | 10:58 am

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Russ gives his take on Prisoners starring Hugh Jackman and Maria Bello, Short Term 12 starring Brie Larson, Thanks For Sharing starring Mark Ruffalo, Battle of the Year starring Josh Holloway, Populaire starring Berenice Bejo, Salinger starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Wizard of Oz in its digitally-remastered IMAX debut.

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“The Family”, “Insidious: Chapter 2″, “Austenland”, “In A World” and “Hannah Arendt” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 16, 2013 | 10:58 am

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Russ Simmons gives his take on The Family, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert DeNiro and Tommy Lee Jones, Insidious: Chapter 2 starring Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson, Austenland starring Keri Russell, In A World starring Lake Bell, and Hannah Arendt starring Barbara Sukowa.

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You get it all in one film – France, crime, comedy, the mob, Tommy Lee, Pfeiffer and De Niro ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 16, 2013 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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The Family, also known as Malavita, is a 2013 English-language French action crime comedy film based on a novel by Tonino Benacquista and directed by Luc Besson, starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones, and Dianna Agron.

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“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 9, 2013 | 8:58 am (and Tuesday at 12:02 pm)

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On Take Two today, Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders review Ain't Them Bodies Saints, an American romantic crime drama film written and directed by David Lowery, starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara.

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“Riddick”, “Museum Hours”, and “Adore” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 9, 2013 | 10:58 am

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Russ Simmons gives his take on Riddick, a British-American science fiction film and the third installment in the The Chronicles of Riddick film series, starring Vin Diesel.