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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for half, not good for all
A person can look a Belly two ways. Half of us will see it as a video guide on how to be drug dealin' gangsta, and as a bad influece on americas youth (trust me, I've seen this movie influence some kids). The other half will see it as a way for, to use one of Nas' own terms, "Ghetto Prisoners to Rise." My only beef is why did they show all of this crime and...
Published on May 23, 2000 by gaz-l

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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Artisan's new "Belly" DVD isn't so SPECIAL!!!!
When I first heard that Artisan would be releasing a brand new special edition of "Belly", I was intrigued. I already owned the original DVD release which was alright but a little light in the special features category. On it, director Hype Williams spoke on a number of scenes that were omitted from the final release. He talked about wanting to put together a "director's...
Published on January 26, 2004 by Crazy Jim


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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Artisan's new "Belly" DVD isn't so SPECIAL!!!!, January 26, 2004
By 
Crazy Jim (Massachusetts) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Belly (Special Edition) (DVD)
When I first heard that Artisan would be releasing a brand new special edition of "Belly", I was intrigued. I already owned the original DVD release which was alright but a little light in the special features category. On it, director Hype Williams spoke on a number of scenes that were omitted from the final release. He talked about wanting to put together a "director's cut". With this edition, I was hoping that we would finally get to see the footage he talked about.
Much to my dismay, this entire "Special Edition" is one of the weakest and most half-baked attempts to re-sell the same DVD twice that I've ever come across. Not only is there no added material from the actual movie but the special features included have me more confused than most viewers were with the original version of this film. The so-called "Deleted Scene" is actually just one solid shot of a bunch of people standing in front of some strippers at a night club. When they turn around, their bare breasts are blurred out like some TV reality show or something. I find it very hard to believe that this was ever even intended to be in the movie as the inclusion of it would make no sense once so ever. In fact, I think it's safe to say that it's probably just some daily from one of the filiming days at the strip bar. As for the "Spoken Word Featurette", it is actually just a bunch of people performing live poetry based on some of the characters in the movie. What The?!?! The only added feature that has anything to do with the movie is the music video for the song, "Grand Finale" off the film's soundtrack. Even the advertised bonus CD soundtrack is not the full album but eight songs from it thrown on a disc. The rest of the features are just recycled from the previous DVD release.
I have always considered "Belly" to be one of my guilty pleasures. Many critics trashed it, the film bombed in the box office, but found a cult following on video. Sadly, Artisan chose to hit said fan base in the crotch and the wallet with this awful excuse for a "special edition". If you already own the first DVD and the soundtrack, I promise you that you will regret updating your collection with this waste of time. There is no behind-the-scenes footage, "making of" featurette, or any ommitted scenes. Nobody from the cast or crew had anything to do with this at all. This is really quite a shameless attempt to cash in. Underrated film, awful DVD.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for half, not good for all, May 23, 2000
By 
This review is from: Belly [VHS] (VHS Tape)
A person can look a Belly two ways. Half of us will see it as a video guide on how to be drug dealin' gangsta, and as a bad influece on americas youth (trust me, I've seen this movie influence some kids). The other half will see it as a way for, to use one of Nas' own terms, "Ghetto Prisoners to Rise." My only beef is why did they show all of this crime and violence for 99% of the movie? It's like they just tacked on the "lets all get togther ednding" just to make you forget about the actual theme of the film. It doesn't make the film any worse, just puzzling. One great thing is how the characters that Nas, X, and Meth play are exactly how you would vision them in real life. X is hard and crazy, Nas is down, yet knowledgable and intellegant and Meth is grimy. If you like these artists, you'll love Belly. If you don't, you'll probably do better of watching somthing else.Belly is a movie with a message to and from the streets, and with an excellent story line, great camera angles, and real life situations. If oyu can get past all the excess "gangsta-ism" you wil see that.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a visually stunning first film for hype williams, November 8, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Belly (DVD)
Hype makes a spectacular transistion from the genre of filming amazing music videos to his own feature length film- belly... fusing hip-hop/r&b culture to this gritty street drama, the influences of music can be seen and add much emotional depth to the film. overall, spectacular...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Confusing Story?? Still a solid Movie!!, January 23, 2001
This review is from: Belly (DVD)
Hype Williams directorial debut was solid yet confusing. Belly gives you the feel of an overextended music video gone awry. The first few minutes are focused on a glossy holdup of NYC's Tunnel Nightclub. The two main characters, Sincere and Tommy, played by rap stars, Nas and DMX have masterminded a scheme to expand their local empire and popularize a new underground drug. In their efforts, they enlist a Jamaican drug lord (played by Louie Rankin who's authentic but small part is noted:)to front them the cash for quick profits. This sounds like a simple plot, but unfortunately a terrible editing job has made this story difficult to understand unless you view it more than five times. After some reasonable success, the operation is depleted and Tommy and Sincere go in opposite directions. Sincere, played horribly by NAS, and his wife, (Tionne Watkins)who is equally as bad, agree that Africa is their safe haven, and they decide to make the move. This, in my estimation is another confusing part of the story. Why Africa? What sensible black couple would just pick up and travel to Africa to start another life? It just doesn't make sense. The story takes another weird twist when Tommy (DMX) becomes entangled with the Federal authorities to conspire an assaniation plot on a Louis Farrakhan character they foolishly call "The Minister". This Minister character is a cameo role for Dr. Benjamin Chavis, who recently embraced the Nation after a heated ordeal as leader of the NAACP. This climax is fitting since the story has us totally bamboozled by now. Your probably wondering why I gave it four stars, but my explanation should be suffice. DMX holds this picture on his back, he literally carries it from start to finish. Watching him is like seeing Tupac for the first time as a crazed "Bishop" in Juice. Critics say that he simply played himself, if that's so it was a hell of an acting performance..........Otherwise this is a silly story filled with several holes....And whoever is responsible for distribution, should redistribute with the unedited segments. Hopefully, Hype is given another chance to direct a full feature length film ;since he so aptly displayed his potential in "Belly".
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dynamic Masterpiece From Hype Williams, October 23, 2000
By 
Aaron Scantlen (Nashville, TN USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Belly (DVD)
Hype Williams feature length debut is an artistic masterpiece of visual, musical, and character dynamics. Like musical masterpieces such as The Planets, by Gustav Holst, Hype touches every point of the spectrum. From a cappella to slammin' rap joints, from the absence of color to nothing but a kalediscope, this film is anything but a two hour adaptation of William's music videos. The story, centered around two best friends, explores their growth apart and there eventual redemption when they step back from the life they have lived and gain some knowledge of self. The violence and calousness of the characters is the foundation for the greatest of contrasts. The absence of the value of life to the understanding of the importance of all life. Very good performances from first timers DMX and Nas, as well as amazing cinematography and lighting place this film in a whole different category than Boys in the Hood and Menace II Society. To believe that this is another violent "Hood/Gangsta" movie is only one of the many reasons that Belly is among the most underrated and misinterpreted films of the 90's.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars move back to reality, December 16, 2003
By 
caesar (the real world) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Belly (DVD)
I don't usually write reviews but I saw how poorly some people reviewed this movie. I couldn't believe the responses. This movie is not intended to be a grammy award winner, it's supposed to be realistic. Poor acting, yes, because they are portraying life, not some fantasy land drama. To all you folks who have been in similar situations to what happens in the movie you know whats goin on. Its real up in the battlefield. this is how some grow up, and this is how they survive. those connected to the real world know. Reality always trumps. thats why this movie gets 5 stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Art imitiating life in a dark mood; better than expected, August 18, 2000
This review is from: Belly [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Like some people, when I first saw this movie on cable I was like, 'Great, another film about drugs and violence in the hood'. But after seeing a few more times, I actually dig this film more than some of the others I've seen. The dark lighting and overall dark mood reflect the dark clouds of sadness, despair and gloom that cover Black America due to poverty, drugs, and violence. Very clever. Besides, anyone that knows anything about real mobsters and gangstas(from any generation) knows that many of them are nightowls anyway. I had a hard time understanding the language(they should have also used captions on X, Nas, and Meth in some scenes), but it added to vibe of the film. Some parts remind me of old school films like Casino, Deep Cover, the Harder they Come, and the Godfather series because of the ruthless, unfeeling nature of the characters. Good film to watch late at night.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie, Bad Acting, January 27, 2006
This review is from: Belly (Special Edition) (DVD)
The problem with Belly is not the story or the plot it's some of the actors. DMX is sick in this film because he's relating to himself and using it to act. Even Method Man made you feel him and believe his role but there were some weak links. Nas was Ok but he needed some more emotion to make you feel Sincere and T-Boz was the same way but she tried hard. The truth is Belly is almost a perfect movie but some of the actors weren't adding up to this great story. Belly actually teaches you that even when you hit the bottom you don't have to stay there. This isn't just another hood flick just to show off meaningless shootouts and drug deals this movie has a moral and shows you how a man who only knew one way of life chose a different direction when it came to the last few minutes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Belly of the beast, October 7, 2004
By 
Hard Hitta "PrettyBoi" (New Orleans, Louisiana (7th Ward)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Belly (DVD)
Belly is my favorite movie due to one scene: the scene when a group of men dressed in all black with automatics and beamers run into Lennox's {played by Louie Rankin} (the Jamaican druglord who is Tommy's connection) mansion and tries to kill him; drunk and high, he manages to kill them all with an assault rifle (chrome AK-47) by dodging the beamers and hiding behind walls, but it really gets good when he is lying on the floor killing the surrounding intruders but gets kill by a masked woman who jumps on his back and slices his throat "she must be a fan of SOULJA SLIM" that is the best scene I ever seen in a movie, although the copied SCARFACE's last scene
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great direction, poor script, June 20, 2000
This review is from: Belly (DVD)
being an aspiring director myself, I decided to check out Hype Williams' Belly.
hype opens the film up brilliantly; images that will forever stick in my head. i've seen alot of 'beautifully shot' films ranging from the works of akira kurosawa,sam pekinpah, john woo, oliver stone, to brian depalma among others, and williams surely ranks with these men, at least in directorial efforts.
the images are beautiful, each frame carefully shot. there are crane shots, dolly shots, tracking shots, its all there. my only gripe is that there were some scenes that were so dark it was hard to tell who was in it or what was going on.
the actual movie is a whole lot weaker than the great visuals that hype gave it. there's way too much going on in the movie; it seems hype wanted alot for his characters to achieve. the characters are underdeveloped and certain characters are introduced, then forgotten. others are just introduced, making us wonder where exactly did they come from. if williams wanted so much out of his story, he should have done a 'godfather trilogy' thing. then he would have let his characters breathe and really live. here, as presented, they just move from scene to scene, situation to situation. there is a message in Belly, it just takes a while to get to it.
with a better script, this movie could have been one of the most beautifully shot action/drama to have ever graced the screen. as it stands, its just a great teaching tool.
this is a 'must see' for future directors and cinematographers... there are just too many scenes that need to be studied.
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Belly (Special Edition)
Belly (Special Edition) by Hype Williams (DVD - 2004)
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