"The Two Faces of January" (directed by Hossein Amini)
Based on the novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith, "The Two Faces of January" marks the directorial debut of "Drive" scribe Hossein Amini. It follows a an American couple (Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst) who meet and are charmed by a local tourist guide (Oscar Isaac), eventually pulling him into a complicated web of crime and deceit. While a Toronto premiere is likely, the film's sumptuous locations and starry cast could a make it an appealing prospect to unveil at Venice as well. [Clint Holloway]

“Under the Skin” (directed by Jonathan Glazer)
Jonathan Glazer’s last two films, “Sexy Beast” and “Birth,” both generated buzz from the festival circuits, even if the latter didn’t earn a ton of positive word. Surely his new star Scarlett Johansson expects a better fate for “Under the Skin,” a science fiction film about an alien in human form who goes on a journey through Scotland. The unique premise as well as Johansson should certainly appeal to festival programmers. Glazer’s film could land anywhere, but it’s certainly expected somewhere. [Ben Travers]

"Welcome To New York" (directed by Abel Ferrara)
Decades after first establishing his grimy vision of New York City dramas, Abel Ferrara remains one of the most compelling underground filmmakers in the world. While his recent movies haven't received the U.S. distribution they deserve, in recent years Ferrara has produced some of the more fascinating contemporary portraits of vulgar New Yorkers in "Go Go Tales" and the apocalyptic "4:44 Last Day on Earth," not to mention the amusingly slapdash documentary "Chelsea on the Rocks." It's only fair that one of the great chroniclers of sleazy urban life would take a crack at one of the great recent sleazy New York stories -- the exploits of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and a certain hotel maid in a midtown hotel. Ferrara's apparently loose treatment of the material gives a starring role to Gerard Depardieu (who else?) opposite Jacqueline Bisset, which sounds like a match made in cinephile heaven for Ferrara fans. You could title nearly any Ferrara movie "Welcome to New York," and the label here suggests another seminal entry in a filmography that never lost its sultry appeal. [Eric Kohn]

"White Bird in a Blizzard" (directed by Gregg Araki)
Gregg Araki appears to be returning to the serious territory of his acclaimed "Mysterious Skin" with his new film "White Bird in a Blizzard." Adapted from Laura Kasischke's novel, the film details a young woman's life as its thrown into chaos due to her mother's disappearance. Starring Eva Green, Shailene Woodley, Angela Bassett, Shiloh Fernandez and Gabourey Sidibe, it features a remarkable cast and could mark another surprising turn in the now 25-year career of Araki (whose last film, 2010's "Kaboom," was seen as a throwback to his less serious roots). And considering it finished filming in January, it seems like Venice and/or Toronto seem like good bets for us to find out. [Peter Knegt]

“The Wolf of Wall Street” (directed by Martin Scorcese)
I don’t think anyone expects Martin Scorcese’s latest big budget collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio to premiere anywhere before its prime November 15 release date, but this is a wish list and we really want to see it. As if we needed more than just those two names to get excited for this sure-fire Oscar contender, the first trailer featured Leo popping-and-locking like a mad man to Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead,” Matthew McConaughey pulling a Tarzan at a swanky Manhattan restaurant, and Jonah Hill spouting what can already be named Accent of the Year. Scorcese’s last narrative feature, “Hugo,” did debut at the New York Film Festival in October before its November release, so I guess there’s a shred of hope we’ll get to see Leo & Co. a bit early. Here’s hoping. [Ben Travers]

"The Young & Prodigious T.S. Spivet"
(directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet tackles Americana in "The Young & Prodigious T.S. Spivet," about a brainy young boy who leaves his Montana ranch to receive an award at the Smithsonian Institute for his invention. What ensues is the kind of zany and dazzling display of visuals that many have come to expect from the "Amélie" director. Venice, Toronto and/or Telluride audience could be in for a treat. [Clint Holloway]

“The Zero Theorem”
(directed by Terry Gilliam)
If anyone makes films meant to play at festivals, it’s Terry Gilliam. The director of unique and sometimes bizarre features like “Tideland,” “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” is back with “The Zero Theorem,” a drama about a computer hacker searching for the reason for human existence. His quest is continually interrupted by the “Management,” who send a people to distract him. Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz and Tilda Swinton star in what certainly sounds like a return to “Brazil”-like territory for the veteran filmmaker. It's nailed down 2013 release dates abroad, but has yet to land one in the U.S. Perhaps it’s time for Terry to hit the festival circuit one more time. [Ben Travers]