1. The Weinsteins hype Morgan Spurlock’s latest stunt-doc: Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?
2. Peter Sarsgaard, on a downhill slide since Kinsey, could stage a comeback with Michael Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh.
3. It’s no Aquaman, but Entourage’s Adrian Grenier’s air-drummer odyssey, Adventures of Power (by an NYU grad named, no joke, Ari Gold), is one of the fest’s few teen-friendly flicks.
4. Stanley Tucci directs himself in the kinky Theo van Gogh remake Blind Date, opposite Patricia Clarkson.
5. The prime doc contenders are New York bred: Ellen Kuras’s Nerakhoon follows a Laotian-American family for 23 years; Tanaz Eshaghian’s Be Like Others discovers transgendered Iranians; Nanette Burstein’s American Teen spies Indiana kids; Irena Salina pulls a Gore with enviro-doc Flow; Margaret Brown’s The Order of Myths visits a segregated Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama; and Tia Lessin and Carl Deal reflect on Katrina in Trouble the Water.
6. Man on Wire chronicles Philippe Petit’s “artistic crime of the century”: a tightrope walk between the Twin Towers.
7. Planet Earth narrator David Attenborough has nothing on Isabella Rossellini, who simulates bug sex in Green Porno, a series of shorts.
8. In NYU alum Andrew Fleming’s Hamlet 2, Steve Coogan plays a local high-school teacher determined to stage an unlikely sequel—as a musical.
9. Best Actress is the best revenge: In Incendiary, Heath Ledger’s ex, Michelle Williams, plays an adulterous woman whose husband is killed in a suicide bombing.
10. Cult heroes square off in Patti Smith: Dream of Life and Alex Gibney’s Gonzo: The Life and Times of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.
11. Little Miss Juno and the Whale? In The Wackness, Josh Peck plays a New York screwup who pays his shrink (Ben Kingsley) with weed.
12. Paparazzi alert: Matthew Broderick is a loony newsman in Terry Kinney’s Diminished Capacity; Sarah Jessica Parker is romanced by her obnoxious old professor (Dennis Quaid) in Noam Murro’s Smart People.
13. Nepotism works! Robert Redford’s Gotham-based daughter Amy Redford directs The Guitar.
14. Indie Spirit nominee? Paul Giamatti and Billy Crudup invent a sci-fi rocket belt in Paul Schneider’s Pretty Bird.
15. Awards bait: Half Nelson’s directors, Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, return with Sugar, a drama about a Dominican baseball prospect.
16. The Producers 2? In The Deal, co-written by Atlantic Theater cronies Steven Schachter and William H. Macy, a craven movie producer casts LL Cool J as a Jewish action star.
17. Fetish watch: In Quid Pro Quo, Vera Farmiga seduces a paraplegic New Yorker.
18. Acquisition target: Woody Harrelson and Brooklyn’s Emily Mortimer play tourists on a bad trip in Transsiberian.