BY JOE TYRRELL
At the movies, keep quiet, turn off your cell phones and, most importantly, look out for the lions.
These days, big cats are on the prowl in theaters across the country. Just in time for Earth Day, Disneynature has let loose "African Cats," a family friendly documentary by Keith Scholey ("Big Cat Diary") and Alastair Fothergill.
Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, this beautifully filmed if relatively mild tale follows the fates of two mothers in Kenya's Maasai Mara Reserve, a cheetah trying to raise five cubs and a nearby lioness and her cub, part of a pride living along a river.
"African Cats" follows closely in the paw prints of National Geographic's almost as sumptuous and more wrenching "The Last Lions," by the great Botswana filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, with Jeremy Irons narrating.
Here is the list of things that have improved in the past generation: cars, computers, wines, American cafés, frozen food and nature photography. Technology, research and the dedication of the practitioners mean images of the African plains now encompass far more than stunning vistas, flaming sunsets and spreading baobabs.